Both Adidas and Puma are based in the Bavarian town of Herzogenaurach, 22km (13 miles) northwest of Nuremberg. The companies were founded in the late 1940s by two brothers, Adolf and Rudolf Dassler, who had a fierce rivalry.
“Bjorn Gulden brings almost 30 years of experience in the sporting goods and footwear industry,” Thomas Rabe, chairman of the Adidas supervisory board, said in a statement on Tuesday. “As a result, he knows the industry extremely well and draws on a rich network in sport and retail.”
“As CEO of Puma, he re-invigorated the brand and led the company to record results,” Rabe said.
Gulden previously had led Danish jewelry brand Pandora and held senior positions at companies that included shoe retailer Deichmann and clothing and sport equipment company Helly Hansen.
His boardroom experience builds upon his life on the pitch.
He played football professionally for Nuremberg in Germany’s Bundesliga as well as for Bryne and Stromsgodset in the Norwegian Premier League. He also played handball for Haslum in Norway’s first league.
Gulden, who has been given a five-year contract, will start his new position on January 1.
Tuesday’s announcement ended months of uncertainty after Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted and the firm’s supervisory board mutually agreed in August that he would leave the company as of this Friday.
Puma, meanwhile, announced that Arne Freundt, the company’s chief commercial officer, would take over as CEO with immediate effect.
The two companies were set up after a falling-out by the Dassler brothers, and they remain among the best known global sports brands.