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Puma at core of new sports and lifestyle division

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French retail-to-luxury company PPR SA has confirmed that Jochen Zeitz, Chief Executive Officer of its German sportswear company Puma, will become the head of PPR’s new sports and lifestyle division.

This move has come as part of plans to shape PPR around two groups of brands with global appeal.

"Alongside our luxury division, PPR aims to build a second strategic pillar in the sports and lifestyle sector by acquiring some brands with superior growth potential," said PPR Chief Executive Francois-Henri Pinault.

"Jochen will be responsible for the development and architecture of this new group of companies."

As part of PPR’s plans, Puma will replace its supervisory and executive boards with one single board and Zeitz will act as Chairman once he has found a replacement CEO. The changes to Puma’s structure remain subject to approval by Puma shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting in April 2011.

It is also understood that Puma will change its legal structure to that of a European corporation and will be renamed Puma SE (Societas Europaea).

PPR, whose collection of luxury brands comes under the Gucci Group umbrella, plans to gradually sell off its retail assets, including the electronics chain Fnac and furniture retailer Conforama to fund the acquisitions of new mass market and luxury brands. PPR CEO Pinault declined to provide details about the disposal and acquisition plans.

In a Puma statement the company noted, ‘The more flexible and international structure of a one-tier European Corporation permits that Jochen Zeitz – in his new role as Executive Chairman of the Board – can continue to be responsible for PUMA’s next phase of its corporate development while also providing PPR’s future Sport & Lifestyle Division with his extensive and unique expertise in the sportlifestyle sector. PUMA will become a core brand within this new division.’

The statement continued to add that, ‘In the role of Head of PPR’s Sport & Lifestyle Division, Zeitz will act as a member of PPR’s Executive Committee. Within the framework of the Division’s strategy developed by PPR, Jochen Zeitz will be responsible for setting up the organisation and will be in charge of operations in order to build a portfolio of strong, complementary brands within the sport and lifestyle arena in the future.

‘These brands, and Puma in particular, will benefit from international growth opportunities and new synergies derived from complementary consumer universes and pooled resources.’

www.puma.com

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