Puma SE announced that, by mutual agreement, Franz Koch will step down from his position as CEO of Puma and member of the group executive committee of PPR SA, the main shareholder of Puma SE, at the end of March 2013.
Koch joined in 2007 and became CEO in 2011, replacing long-time CEO Jochen Zeitz.
Puma's statement also noted that former Zeitz’ resignation as administrative board chairman as of Dec. 1, 2012 "marks the end of a chapter in the history of Puma. The company is therefore entering a new phase in its development and is changing its top management structure to take on those challenges," the company said in a statement.
Koch will remain CEO of Puma until the end of March, and work in close collaboration with the new chairman of the administrative board, Jean-François Palus, also PPR Group managing director, in order to secure Puma’s on-going operational transformation and generate profitable growth. Zeitz originally announced his exit in October and was replaced as chairman by Palus, who was PPR SA's managing director. PPR owns 82.4 percent of Puma.
Palus stated: “Together with Jochen Zeitz, Franz Koch has been the driver of strategic key initiatives and has strongly contributed to Puma’s development over the past few years. I would like to warmly thank Franz for his efforts, commitment and dedication to Puma, as well as his contribution to evolving the organization and management team. Going forward with the future CEO, who we aim to hire by spring 2013, we will pursue the reorganization of the company, focus on product innovation and marketing, and will continue to devote the necessary resources to the development of the brand. We are now going to write a new chapter for Puma and thanks to the commitment and enthusiasm of the teams I’ve been meeting around the world, I am fully confident in our ability to realize the huge potential of this iconic brand.”
Palus' promotion to chairman came on Oct. 23, a day before Puma announced it expected earnings this year to be “significantly below” those of 2011 due largely to Europe’s financial crisis. Puma announced several cost reduction initiatives at the time.