Senior Vice President - Innovation


‘Only the best for the Athlete’ adorns every shopping bag that leaves our stores. It has been at the core of the brand since adidas started in 1949 and remains our steadfast commitment over 70 years later.


The technology is constantly changing but the vision of our founder, Adi Dassler remains the same as we strive to be ’the best sports brand in the world’. Ultraboost, 4D printing and Future Loop have changed both the athlete and the consumer experience the better – but we are never satisfied and certainly never finished.


We are looking for our new SVP - Innovation to lead the function into our new strategic business plan to 2025 and beyond. As we push the boundaries of of digital, technology, retail and innovation, we’re looking for a new leader to provide strategic vision, a commercial approach to innovation, strong leadership & stakeholder engagement capabilities, to motivate a best-in-class team on the next step of our journey.





Lead and steer the conception and delivery of innovative and industry leading products, concepts and approaches that are commercially relevant and ensure profitability and positive brand perception. Ensure innovation pipeline based on athlete / consumer needs to fuel the future of the brand in order to significantly improve brand perception.





Portfolio Management / Innovation Plan / Roadmap


  • Overall leadership and accountability for development and execution of 2-7+ year innovation plan based on athlete / consumer needs (reflecting a framework aligned with the Brand Strategy – e.g. UTOS)
  • Collaborate with other industries, work with experts from universities, internal x-functional experts, labs and factories to identify disruptive product, process and experience innovation and Upstream technology in an early stage for commercialization on a future season timeline
  • Product trend insight: Generate and synthesize consumer, technology, and business insights
  • Ensure innovation plan / roadmap is closely linked to the key franchise roadmap and delivers innovative solutions at the required price positioning of the respective franchise (funnel of potential innovations per key franchise along the 2-7 year timeline)


Delivering Innovation


  • Product innovation: Define, launch and manage an “insight to action” product innovation process across all sub-brands
  • Closely collaborate with Legal to document and protect our innovation IP and ensure that we own or secure IP needed for our tech innovations
  • Product sustainability: Conduct sustainability development by driving innovative thinking in product creation and development
  • Ensure aligned cross-BU positioning of horizontal apparel and footwear disruptive innovation and ensure together with the Brand Strategy team an aligned rollout on a future season timeline
  • Create a team with engineering, sport science, and industrial design support to deliver performance proven and quality tested innovation as prototypes for commercialization within the Bus
  • Creates transparency of the innovation plan / roadmap and the status of each innovation through hosting of quarterly innovation workshops
  • Ensure on time delivery of performance proven and quality tested technology, support BU during handover into inline creation
  • Clearly document athlete / consumer benefit / insight of each technology as foundation for consumer-relevant story telling
  • Drive the future of manufacturing through processes, materials and automation innovations in close collaboration with the GOPS Advanced Creation team


Team Mgmt / Collaboration


  • Build and lead a highly engaged team and provide the platform for long-term, (cross)-functional careers
  • Own and lead Brand resources for Engineering, Sport Science and Future/Innovation Design
  • Own upstream innovation with industry, universities, labs and factories
  • Own team recruitment, development and performance management
  • Closely collaborate with Brand Strategy and Creative Direction with 2-7 year perspective






  • Brand Strategy
  • Global Brand Bus
  • Creative Direction
  • Marketing
  • Merchandizing
  • GOPS
  • External (Universities, Agencies etc.)
  • Legal (IP)





Personal Attributes 

  • Entrepreneurial mindset
  • Visionary – has a clear image of what it takes in order to reach full potential and can powerfully articulate it to all the different stakeholders
  • Motivational – inspires and engages by role modelling
  • Accountable – takes ownership and responsibility for successes and failures and translates them into learnings
  • Dynamic and adaptable – can quickly and effectively assimilate and drive change and/or new initiatives
  • Collaborator – works closely with other parties of the Creation value stream



  • Ability to lead and inspire innovation teams and programs
  • Strategic skills
  • Leadership skills in terms of setting a vision, gaining alignment and fostering team spirit
  • Ambassadorial skills to manage the external environment and enhance the company’s reputation
  • Negotiating, influencing and networking skills to effectively manage internal & external interdependencies
  • Cultural sensitivity, facilitating rapport with internal and external team members, customers and stakeholders
  • Selection and performance management of brand talents



  • Deep functional knowledge in innovation management
  • Deep product creation and commercialization knowledge
  • Excellent technical expertise as it applies to athletes
  • Understanding of legal and corporate governance matters to take on the necessary responsibilities
  • Understanding of corporate and social responsibility
  • Understanding of basic employee relations matters
  • Inspire, coach and lead; set framework for performance and growth
  • Extensive knowledge of Sport Industry including a vision of future opportunities and challenges
  • Strong communication and excellent presentation skills
  • Strategic minded
  • Lead change management
  • Excellent English knowledge





  • Bachelor’s degree in related fields required; Master’s degree preferred
  • 15+ years of relevant experience in product and innovation industries
  • 10 years proven track record in managing product innovations
  • 8 years team lead experience and ability to effectively building and leading diverse teams

adidas celebrates diversity, supports inclusiveness and encourages individual expression in our workplace. We do not tolerate the harassment or discrimination toward any of our applicants or employees. We are an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Job Title:  Senior Vice President - Innovation

Brand:  adidas
Location:  Herzogenaurach
TEAM:  Product Development
State:  BY
Country/Region:  DE
Contract Type:  Full time
Number:  311488
Date:  Mar 31, 2021