Shoes are offered for sale at an Adidas store on February 10, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois.
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Adidas intends to sell part of its leftover Yeezy inventory and donate the money to charities that were harmed by Ye’s anti-Semitic comments, the company’s chief executive said Thursday.
The CEO, Bjorn Gulden, did not name the charities he is considering.
“When we do that and how we do that, remains to be seen but we’re working on that” he said.
At one point, the company considered burning the merchandise.
“Burning the shoes cannot be the solution,” Gulden said. He says he came to that conclusion after talking with various NGOs and the learning of the environmental damage.
Appearing at his first annual meeting for the German company, Gulden said it was the right thing for Adidas to terminate the contract of their biggest star, Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West.
“He is a difficult person, but he’s arguably the most creative person in our industry,” he said. “He created a model with Adidas that was sought after around the world,” he added.
Gulden took the helm of Adidas on Jan. 1, following CEO Kasper Rorsted’s departure. He previously worked at rival Puma.
What to do with the tarnished sneaker brand stoked debate. Gulden has said he has received more than 500 offers for Yeezy leftovers.
Adidas’ most recent earnings beat expectations but were weighed down by Yeezy inventory piling up. “The decline in lifestyle and the loss of Yeezy are of course hurting us,” Gulden said during his company’s May 5 earnings call.
The company parted ways with Ye in October following months of bizarre behavior and antisemitic comments from the hip hop artist.
The split left Adidas with inventory levels of $500 million worth of sneakers, with selling value of over $1 billion, according to the company.
(With inputs from CNBC)