Top Adidas Investor Will Ask Execs To Turn Over Kanye West Misconduct Probe Details

As criticism from shareholders about its failed partnership with a former US rapper mounts, Adidas faces pressure from Germany’s third-largest asset manager to reveal its investigation into how it handled accusations of misconduct against Kanye West.

According to Financial Times, Janne Werning, head of ESG at Union Investment, will request the German sportswear maker to disclose the results of its internal investigation over inappropriate behavior by its former business partner Kayne West, also known as “Ye,” who was terminated last year over antisemitic remarks. 

Werning wants results of the investigation “here and now,” emphasizing that shareholders are entitled to know about the company’s handling of misconduct allegations. There are reports Adidas executives turned a blind eye to inappropriate behavior by Ye at meetings. In one such instance, the rapper allegedly played pornography in a meeting and even showed a private picture of his ex-wife Kim Kardashian. 

Last November, Rolling Stone published a report about former employees who had written a letter to senior execs to inform them of Ye’s “problematic behavior” and endured “years of verbal abuse, vulgar tirades, and bullying attacks.”

At the same time, Union Investment penned a letter to Adidas execs asking them when they were first aware of misconduct allegations against Ye. It was only then the company launched an independent investigation into the allegations. 

The partnership’s collapse left Addidas with a $1.3 billion pile of unsold Yeezy brand shoes and other items. The company warned it could post the first net loss in three decades. 

Shares of the company trading in Germany slid 72% from late 2021 to October 2022. Some losses have been clawed back in recent months. 

And just recently, Adidas shareholders launched a class-action lawsuit alleging execs knew about the potential harm that the “personal behavior” of Ye but failed to warn investors. 

Also, Ye’s brand contributed an estimated $1.8 billion in annual revenue for the company, about 7% of total revenue. And why Addidas execs decide to bet a large chunk of revenue on the Yeezy brand is beyond our comprehension. 

FT noted Union Investment is expected to demand answers about the Ye probe at the annual shareholder meeting on Thursday. 


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