Adidas-Salomon AG appointed a new president Adidas America Inc

Adidas-Salomon AG has appointed a new president of its Portland-based North American operations to give the current chief more time to focus on marketing for next year's World Cup soccer tournament.

Rob Langstaff, a 14-year Adidas executive who was most recently president of Adidas Japan, becomes president of Adidas America Inc. effective Jan. 1, the company said. He takes over for Erich Stamminger, who moved to Portland two years ago. While in Portland, Stamminger has been CEO and president of Adidas America, and head of global marketing.

Stamminger will remain CEO of North American operations and head of global marketing, said Andrea Corso, a company spokeswoman

Under Stamminger, Adidas signed a 10-year deal with Major League Soccer worth an estimated $150 million (Ђ128 million) to make the German company its official athletic sponsor and licensed supplier.

He also oversaw the three-year secret project that created what Adidas called the world's first "smart shoe" by mating it with a computer chip that adapts its cushioning level to a runner's size and stride.

Stamminger has spent much of his time recently mapping out strategy against larger chief rival Nike Inc. after Adidas announced last summer it will buy No. 3 Reebok International Ltd., closing the gap between the No. 1 and No. 2 athletic shoe and clothing makers in the world.

Langstaff, a U.S. citizen, has been president of Adidas' operations in Japan since 2003, growing from No. 3 to market leader in that country.

Corso said that as president of Adidas America Inc., Langstaff will run "all aspects of the day-to-day business" for the region "but he'll report directly to Erich."

Langstaff is a former captain in the U.S. Air Force with a master's from Schiller International University in Heidelberg, Germany, and a bachelor's from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado, the company said, reported AP. P.T.

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