Puma Names Pandora’s Gulden as New Chief After Four-Month Search

Puma shipping container store | Source: Gliving

HERZOGENAURACH, Germany — Puma SE, Europe’s second-largest sporting-goods maker, appointed Pandora A/S leader Bjoern Gulden as chief executive officer after a four-month search.

Gulden, 47, will take over the role on July 1, succeeding Franz Koch, who left last month after only two years in the job. The appointment follows speculation in February that led Pandora to deny that Gulden would be leaving the company.

The new CEO, a former soccer professional, has “proven leadership quality and know-how in managing sports and footwear brands,” Jean-Francois Palus, chairman of Puma’s administrative board, said in a statement today. “I am absolutely convinced that Bjoern Gulden is the perfect fit to lead Puma through its continuing restructuring and transformation program.”

Puma announced in October that it expected earnings this year to be “significantly below” those of 2011 as consumers cut back on spending in the wake of Europe’s financial crisis. The company plans more cost reductions to combat a weakening consumer climate in Europe and China, it said at the time.

Pandora, based in Glostrup, Denmark, said today that Chairman Allan Leighton will succeed Gulden as CEO on July 1 while its deputy chairman Marcello Bottoli will become chairman.

Pandora fell as much as 4.7 percent to 167.8 kroner in Copenhagen trading and was down 3.5 percent at 9:16 a.m. The shares had surged 41 percent this year before today after the maker of charms and bracelets improved quarterly profit by cutting prices and replacing unwanted products at retailers.

Puma rose as much as 0.6 percent to 229.15 euros in Frankfurt trading.

By: Katarina Gustafsson