|Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik|
|Traded as||FWB: PUM|
|Industry||Clothing and consumer goods manufacture|
(registered in 1948)
|Products||Footwear, sportswear, sports goods, fashion accessories|
|Revenue||€2.972 billion (2014)|
|€306.8 million (2010)|
|Profit||€202.2 million (2010)|
|Total assets||€2.367 billion (end 2010)|
|Total equity||€1.386 billion (end 2010)|
Number of employees
|10,830 (average, 2014)|
Puma SE, branded as PUMA, is a major German multinational company that designs and manufactures athletic and casual footwear and clothing, headquartered in Herzogenaurach, Bavaria. The company was formed in 1924 as Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik by Adolf and Rudolf Dassler. The relationship between the two brothers deteriorated until the two agreed to split in 1948, forming two separate entities, Adidas and Puma. Both companies are currently based in Herzogenaurach, Germany.
Puma offers products for Football, Running, Running, Training and Fitness, Golf and Motorsports. It has sponsored a number of footballers, including Pelé, Eusébio, Johan Cruyff, Diego Maradona, Lothar Matthäus, Kenny Dalglish, Thierry Henry, Robert Pirès, Adam Lallana, Radamel Falcao, Sergio Agüero, Cesc Fàbregas, Samuel Eto'o, Olivier Giroud, Marco Reus, Marco Verratti, Gianluigi Buffon, Mario Balotelli and Diego Godín. Puma is the sponsor of the Jamaican track athlete Usain Bolt. The first endorser for Asian Region is Luhan, a Chinese actor and singer. In the United States, the company is known for the suede basketball shoe it introduced in 1968, which eventually bore the name of New York Knicks basketball star Walt "Clyde" Frazier, and for its endorsement partnership with Joe Namath.
Following the split from his brother, Rudolf Dassler originally registered the new-established company as Ruda, but later changed the name to Puma. Puma's earliest logo consisted of a square and beast jumping through a D, which was registered, along with the company's name, in 1948. Puma's shoe and clothing designs feature the Puma logo and the distinctive "Formstrip" .
The company offers lines of shoes and sports clothing designed by Lamine Kouyate, Amy Garbers, and others. Since 1996 Puma has intensified its activities in the United States. Puma owns 25% of American brand sports clothing maker Logo Athletic, which is licensed by American professional basketball and association football leagues.
Puma also manufactures other products such as clothes and bags. Most of them have a tag that includes a fingertip design and phrases like 'Always be yourself' and 'Wash this when dirty'.
- 1 History
- 1.1 Background
- 1.2 Company split and creation of Puma
- 1.3 Early years and rivalry with Adidas
- 1.4 The Pelé pact and subsequent affairs
- 1.5 Present day
- 1.6 Special editions of King football boots
- 1.7 Takeover by PPR
- 1.8 Controversy
- 1.9 Timeline
- 2 Sponsorship
- 3 References
- 4 External links
Christoph von Wilhelm Dassler was a worker in a shoe factory, while his wife Pauline ran a small laundry in the Bavarian town of Herzogenaurach, 20 km (12.4 mi) from the city of Nuremberg. After leaving school, their son, Rudolf Dassler, joined his father at the shoe factory. When he returned from fighting in World War I, Rudolf received a management position at a porcelain factory, and later in a leather wholesale business in Nuremberg.
Rudolf returned to Herzogenaurach in 1924 to join his younger brother, Adolf, nicknamed "Adi", who had founded his own shoe factory. They named the new business "Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik" (Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory). The pair started their venture in their mother's laundry. At the time, electricity supplies in the town were unreliable, and the brothers sometimes had to use pedal power from a stationary bicycle to run their equipment.
Adolf drove from Bavaria to the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin with a suitcase full of spikes and persuaded United States sprinter Jesse Owens to use them, the first sponsorship for an African American. Owens won four gold medals. Business boomed; the Dasslers were selling 200,000 pairs of shoes annually before World War II.
Company split and creation of Puma
Both brothers joined the Nazi Party, but Rudolf was slightly closer to the party. A growing rift between the brothers reached a breaking point during a 1943 Allied bomb attack. Adi and his wife climbed into a bomb shelter that Rudolf and his family were already in. "Here are the bloody bastards again," Adi remarked, apparently referring to the Allied war planes, but Rudolf, due to his apparent insecurity, was convinced his brother meant him and his family. When Rudolf was later picked up by American soldiers and accused of being a member of the Waffen SS, he was convinced that his brother had turned him in.
The brothers split the business in 1948. Rudolf moved to the other side of the Aurach River to start his own company. Adolf started his own sportswear company using a name he formed using his nickname—Adi—and the first three letters of his last name—Das—to establish Adidas. Rudolf created a new firm that he called "Ruda", from "Ru" in Rudolf and "Da" in Dassler. Rudolf's company changed its name to Puma Schuhfabrik Rudolf Dassler in 1948.
Early years and rivalry with Adidas
Puma and Adidas entered a fierce and bitter rivalry after the split. The town of Herzogenaurach was divided on the issue, leading to the nickname "the town of bent necks"—people looked down to see which shoes strangers wore. Even the town's two football clubs were divided: ASV Herzogenaurach club supported Adidas, while 1 FC Herzogenaurach endorsed Rudolf's footwear. When handymen were called to Rudolf's home, they would deliberately wear Adidas shoes. Rudolf would tell them to go to the basement and pick out a pair of free Pumas. The two brothers never reconciled, and although both are buried in the same cemetery, they are buried at opposite ends as far away from each other as possible.
In 1948, the first football match after World War II, several members of the West German national football team wore Puma boots, including the scorer of West Germany's first post-war goal, Herbert Burdenski. Four years later, at the 1952 Summer Olympics, 1500 metres runner Josy Barthel of Luxembourg won Puma's first Olympic gold in Helsinki, Finland.
At the 1960 Summer Olympics Puma paid German sprinter Armin Hary to wear Pumas in the 100 metre sprint final. Hary had worn Adidas before and asked Adolf for payment, but Adidas rejected this request. The German won gold in Pumas, but then laced up Adidas for the medals ceremony, to the shock of the two Dassler brothers. Hary hoped to cash in from both, but Adi was so enraged he banned the Olympic champion.
The Pelé pact and subsequent affairs
A few months prior to the 1970 FIFA World Cup, Armin Dassler (Rudolf's son) and his cousin, Horst Dassler (Adi's son), sealed an agreement which was dubbed "The Pelé pact". This agreement dictated that soccer player Pelé would be out of bounds for both Adidas and Puma. However, Pelé complied with a request by Puma's representative Hans Henningsen to increase the awareness and profile of Puma after he received $120,000 to wear the Formstrips. At the opening whistle of a 1970 World Cup finals match, Pelé stopped the referee with a last-second request to tie his shoelaces before kneeling down to give millions of television viewers a close-up of his Pumas. This outraged Horst, and future peace agreements were called off.
Two years later, during the 1972 Summer Olympics, Puma provided shoes for the Ugandan 400 metres hurdles champion, John Akii-Bua. After Akii-Bua was forced out of Uganda by its military government, Puma employed him in Germany. Eventually Akii-Bua returned to Uganda.
For the fiscal year 2003, the company had revenue of €1.274 billion. Puma were the commercial sponsors for the 2002 anime series Hungry Heart: Wild Striker, with the jerseys and clothing sporting the Puma brand. Puma ranks as one of the top shoe brands with Adidas and Nike.
The company has been led by former football professional Bjørn Gulden (CEO) since July 1, 2013.
Puma is the main producer of enthusiast driving shoes and race suits. They are the primary producer for Formula One and NASCAR clothing. They won the rights to sponsor the 2006 FIFA World Cup champions, the Italian national football team, making and sponsoring the clothing worn by the team. They entered a partnership with Ferrari, Ducati and BMW to make Puma-Ferrari, Puma-Ducati and Puma-BMW shoes. On 15 March 2007 Puma launched its 2007/2008 line of uniforms for a club, and Brazilian football club Grêmio will be the first to use the laser-sewn technology, similar to that worn by Italy at the 2006 World Cup, because their season starts six months earlier than European clubs.
Rihanna was named Creative Director of Puma overseeing direction of the womenswear line in December 2014.
As of 2014, Puma SE employs more than 10,000 people worldwide and distributes its products in more than 120 countries.
Special editions of King football boots
In 2008 Puma commemorated the 40th anniversary of the "King" model of boots with a special anniversary edition, the King XL (XL is 40 in Roman Numerals), a tribute to Portuguese footballer Eusébio, who scored 42 goals with King boots in 1968, winning the Golden Boot Award as Europe's leading scorer. Puma has continued to release new versions of the King range, and released a version in 2009 to celebrate the history of Italian soccer, and in particular the Puma King XL Italia, in honour of double World Cup winning coach Vittorio Pozzo.
In 2010, a Puma King model was released commemorating the 50th birthday of Diego Maradona, with a model called the Puma King Diego Finale football boot. This edition was created in the colours of La Albiceleste, the Argentina National football team.
Takeover by PPR
In February 2007 Puma reported that its profits had fallen by 26% to €32.8 million ($43 million; £22 million) during the final three months of 2006. Most of the decline in profits was due to higher costs linked to its expansion; sales rose by more than a third to €480.6 million.
In early April 2007 Puma's shares rose €29.25 per share, or about 10.2%, at €315.24 per share.
On 10 April 2007 French retailer and owner of Gucci brand Pinault-Printemps-Redoute (PPR) announced that it had bought a 27% stake in Puma, clearing the way for a full takeover. The deal values Puma at €5.3 billion. PPR said that it would launch a "friendly" takeover for Puma, worth €330 a share, once the acquisition of the smaller stake was completed. The board of Puma welcomed the move, saying it was fair and in the firm's best interests.
As of July 2007 PPR owns over 60% of Puma stock.
In July 2011 the company completed a conversion from an Aktiengesellschaft (German public limited company) to a Societas Europaea, the European Union-wide equivalent, changing its name from Puma AG Rudolf Dassler Sport to Puma SE. At the same time, Franz Koch replaced the long-serving Jochen Zeitz as the firm's CEO, with Zeitz becoming chairman.
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Organizations that were promoting fair trade and worker's rights did not criticize Puma's employment practices in their developing world factories, predominantly relating to workers in China, Turkey, El Salvador, and Indonesia.
Puma, like many globalised corporations, believes that "labour flexibility remains one of the key components to ensure that individual companies survive and grow". These "flexible" labour practices allow the company to manufacture quickly and cheaply, but often under exploitative conditions.
Freedom of association
Puma’s 2009 supplier list included close to 350 suppliers, the majority of which are located in Asia, predominately China, followed by Vietnam. In these locations, Puma reports that the rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining have been difficult to enforce. According to human rights and labour organisations, Puma does not have adequate policies in place to encourage suppliers to recognise workers' union rights. Puma does not require suppliers to allow their workers to form a union, nor does it require suppliers to sign union access agreements.
Puma frequently has short term contracts with its suppliers, which means that at any time it can leave an area, and its workers, if they can source their products more cheaply elsewhere. This lack of stability does not give supplier factories a good incentive to respect workers' rights. For instance, in 2004 Puma decided to stop ordering garments from the Lian Thai factory in Thailand just after the factory had agreed to cease discrimination against trade union members. In another incident, following the formation of an independent union at one of Puma’s Mexican suppliers, the company cut orders from the factory.
Puma has not taken action to minimise the use of short term contracts, though the prevalence of these contracts creates an atmosphere of economic insecurity and makes it difficult for workers to organise.
In a number of regions, sportswear workers producing for Puma have been increasingly vocal about the serious inadequacy of their wages. Puma has not yet made a full commitment to pay a living wage. Puma is currently undertaking research into finding a practical solution to the problem of low wages in Asia, and is working with suppliers in Indonesia, India, and Cambodia to assess the feasibility of a minimum living wage. Labour organisations, such as the Asia Floor Wage campaign, hope that this process will lead to the implementation of living wages in the future. In the meanwhile, Puma has admitted that it is still trying to achieving full compliance with the minimum wage at a number of its suppliers.
Steps in the right direction
The company has made some steps towards greater transparency. In 2000 Puma began auditing all of its suppliers on a yearly basis, and makes the results available in its sustainability reports. Since 2005 it has publicly provided a list of its suppliers.
Puma has made a strong commitment to respecting workers rights in some areas. For example, Puma has obtained the Ethical Clothing Australia accreditation for its Australian-made products. This labour-friendly accreditation applies to only a tiny percentage of Puma’s total production.
In July 2011, Puma – along with other major fashion and sportswear brands including Nike, Adidas, and Abercrombie & Fitch – was the subject of a report by the environmental group Greenpeace entitled 'Dirty Laundry'. Puma is accused of working with suppliers in China who, according to the findings of the report, contribute to the pollution of the Yangtze and Pearl Rivers. Samples taken from one facility belonging to the Youngor Group located on the Yangtze River Delta and another belonging to the Well Dyeing Factory Ltd., located on a tributary of the Pearl River Delta, revealed the presence of hazardous and persistent hormone disruptor chemicals, including alkylphenols, perfluorinated compounds, and perfluorooctane sulfonate.
Less than two weeks after the release of the Dirty Laundry report, Puma made a public commitment to deal with the issues raised by Greenpeace. The company's statement asserts that "Puma is committed to eliminate the discharges of all hazardous chemicals from the whole lifecycle and all production procedures that are associated with the making and using of Puma products." Greenpeace also confirmed Puma's commitment to eliminate all releases of hazardous chemicals from its entire product lifecycle, and across its global supply chain by 2020.
In May 2011, The Guardian released an article saying that Puma was "world's first major company to put a value on its environmental impact". According to the article the company "has made a commitment that within four years, half its international collections will be manufactured according to its internal sustainability standard, by using more sustainable materials such as recycled polyester, as well as ensuring its suppliers develop more sustainable materials and products."
- 1920: Rudolf Dassler and his brother Adolf start making sports shoes.
- 1924: Foundation of Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik, Herzogenaurach, Germany.
- 1948: Foundation of Puma Schuhfabrik Rudolf Dassler (1 October), Introduction of the ATOM, Puma's first football shoe.
- 1949: Rudolf Dassler has the idea of football shoes with removable studs. He begins working on their development and production.
- 1952: Introduction of the SUPER ATOM, the world's first boot with screw in studs.
- 1953: Development of ATOM's successor: the BRASIL. 
- 1958: Introduction of Puma's signature "Formstrip" at the FIFA World Cup in Sweden.
- 1959: The company is transformed into a limited partnership named Puma-Sportschuhfabriken Rudolf Dassler KG. 
- 1960: Introduction of the vulcanization production technique.
- 1966: Launch of the WEMBLEY, the predecessor model to the Puma King.
- 1968: Launch of the legendary KING. Puma is the first manufacturer to offer sports shoes with Velcro fasteners.
- 1968: Launch of the SUEDE. 
- 1973: Launch of the CLYDE. Designed for basketball player Walt "Clyde" Frazier, as a wider-fitting version of suede model.
- 1974: Rudolf Dassler dies. His sons Armin and Gerd take over the company's management.
- 1976: Introduction of the S.P.A.-Technology.
- 1986: Transformation into a stock corporation.
- 1989: Launch of the TRINOMIC sport shoe system.
- 1989: Rudolf's sons Armin and Gerd Dassler agreed to sell their 72 percent stake in Puma to Swiss business Cosa Liebermann SA.
- 1990: Introduction of INSPECTOR, a growth control system for children's shoes.
- 1991: Launch of the DISC SYSTEM sports shoe.
- 1992: Capital increase by DM 20 million, share capital reaches DM 70 million.
- 1993: Jochen Zeitz is appointed Chairman and CEO, Proventus/Aritmos B.V. becomes majority shareholder.
- 1994: The first profit since the company's IPO in 1986 is registered.
- 1996: Puma is listed in the German M-DAX index; introduction of the CELL technology, the first foam-free midsole.
- 1997: Launch of the CELLERATOR.
- 1998: Puma starts a collaboration with designer Jil Sander.
- 1999: Puma becomes an official on-field supplier of the NFL, a legacy reflected in the numeral font of the Tennessee Titans jersey which still uses the original Puma design. Puma is the uniform manufacturer for both Super Bowl teams that year: the Titans and St. Louis Rams.
- 2000: Production of fireproof footwear in partnership with Porsche and Sparco.
- 2001: Acquisition of the Scandinavian Tretorn Group.
- 2002: Puma ends tenure as an on-field supplier for the NFL, when Reebok is announced as the league's sole official uniform and apparel sponsor for 10 years (2002-2011).
- 2002: Launch of the SHUDOH.
- 2003: Majority shareholder Monarchy/Regency sells its shareholdings to a broad base of institutional investors.
- 2004: Collaborative partnership with world-renowned designer Philippe Starck.
- 2005: Mayfair Vermögensverwaltungsgesellschaft mbh acquires a total of 16.91% shareholding.
- 2006: The company is listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index; Introduction of the S.A.F.E. concept, a specific tool developed to continuously improve social and environmental standards. Shoe collection in cooperation with Alexander McQueen. Italy would go on to win the 2006 World Cup. Due to Puma's sponsorship of the Italian national team, many of the teams' players wore Puma boots.
- 2007: Voluntary public take-over by Pinault-Printemps Redoute; Prolongation of the contract with Jochen Zeitz by five years.
- 2008: Melody Harris-Jensbach is appointed Deputy CEO; Designer and artist Hussein Chalayan becomes Creative Director, Puma also acquires a majority stake in Chalayan's business and Hussein Chalayan. 
- 2010: Signs two-year deals to make the kits of Newcastle United, Motherwell, Hibernian, Burnley & Preston North End from the 2010–11 season.
- 2010: Puma announced it would acquire 100 percent of Cobra Golf, based in Carlsbad, California, from Fortune Brands Inc., but did not provide any financial details.
- 2011: Signs a deal to make kits of Dinamo Zagreb from the 2011–12 season.
- 2011: Signs a three-year deal with A-League champions Brisbane Roar.
- 2012: Signs an eight-year deal to make kits for Borussia Dortmund, starting from the 2012-13 season.
- 2013: Signs a five-year deal to make kits for Rangers from the 2013-14 season.
- 2013: Agrees to make kits for Football League Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers on a four-year deal.
- 2013: Signs a five-year kit deal with Serbian side Red Star Belgrade.
- 2014: Signs a five-year kit deal worth £30 million-a-year with Arsenal.
- 2014: Rihanna is named PUMA's global brand ambassador for women's training and PUMA Women's Creative Director, overseeing the direction of the womenswear line, working in partnership with PUMA's Internal Product Creation team.
- 2015: Signs a three-year kit deal with Greek side Panathinaikos
Puma is a sponsor of sporting events and identities internationally. The company sponsors numerous footballers and national football teams; the "Formstrip" especially has a heavy presence in Africa. Puma is the sponsor of a number of Bundesliga clubs, most notably Borussia Dortmund.
In cricket, Puma is the official apparel sponsor for the Sunrisers Hyderabad (representing the city of Hyderabad), and Rajasthan Royals (representing the city of Jaipur) in the Indian Premier League. International cricketers such as Yuvraj Singh, Craig Kieswetter, Adam Gilchrist and Brendon McCullum are sponsored by the brand.
In Rugby Union, Puma entered an eight-year contract as official apparel sponsor of the Irish Rugby team that commenced with the 2009–10 season. Under the agreement, Puma supplies the team kit and training equipment and markets replica kits. Puma also sponsor English premiership side Bath.
The Indian Super League announced in September 2014 that the Puma EvoPower 1 Statement ball would become its official match ball. Puma is also the official kit sponsor for Indian Super League teams Kerala Blasters, Mumbai City FC and Delhi Dynamos.
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- "Euro 2016: 'I hope PUMA doesn't produce condoms'". cnn.com. 20 June 2016.
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