Creativity is the difference between aspiration and resource.
Mark King knows how to drive a business. He led two incredibly successful turnarounds at two different global sports companies. As president of adidas North America, Mark led the turnaround of the brand and business, doubling market share in under three years and tripling sales in four years, creating a new energy for the company’s culture. Prior to adidas, Mark catapulted the TaylorMade business, growing it from $300 million to more than $1.7 billion in sales during his time as President and CEO.
Mark’s secret to success: In today’s fast-paced world, you need to constantly lead change. Companies stall because they think they already have all the answers or they follow a plan that no longer works. Mark knows successful companies have to constantly innovate and create new things the world has never seen before. Organizations have to change at the same pace—or faster—as the marketplace. You have to attune to the market, be factual, be adaptive and be relentless in innovation. Mark believes growth is a cultural mindset that must be infused into the culture of every organization. He believes in setting big dreams and allowing people to drive the “how.”
Learned from his nearly 40-year sports business career, Mark says great companies aren’t about brands or products or even strategies. The only thing that allows a company to sustain success over a long period of time is the quality of people you have and the environment you create. Mark believes in creating the right atmosphere to unleash the potential of people and make extraordinary happen. Don’t fear failure. Have fun. Take risks. And then, you can breakthrough.
Let go of the process. Let people make mistakes and let them fix it. It’s the best way we learn.
Mark King has led change in the sports business world for nearly forty years, creating a legacy of dynamism, prosperity and breaking through. From 2014-18, Mark served as president of adidas North America, turning around the stalled business and challenged environment into a brand and culture powerhouse. Under his leadership, adidas’ growth flourished as the company’s market share doubled in less than three years, the number of employees doubled and sales tripled. A leader in every sense of the word, Mark encouraged a creative and open-thinking environment for people to thrive, driving an industry-shattering retention rate, the highest employee net promoter score in the company and more than 500,000 job applications in one year. In 2018, adidas named Mark executive emeritus, recognizing his legacy and lasting impact on the company.
Mark joined adidas from a 34-year career at TaylorMade (then part of the adidas company). Mark began at TaylorMade in the early 1980s as a territory sales representative, quickly rising through the company because of his extraordinary performance, leadership and personal approach. Mark was named president of TaylorMade in 1999 and CEO in 2002. Under Mark’s leadership from 1999 to 2013, TaylorMade became the leading and most profitable golf company in the world, with sales increasing from $300 million to $1.7 billion.
Mark has been featured in some of the nation’s top business and industry publications including The Harvard Business Review, FORTUNE, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Sports Business Journal, Footwear News and Brandweek. He was the subject of the television show Undercover Boss and appeared on The Apprentice as a business role model. He's been interviewed on Bloomberg, Yahoo!, CNN Money and HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.
In 2017, Footwear News honored Mark at the No. 1 spot on their Power 100 list, recognizing the most influential people in the industry. In 2016, Yahoo! named adidas “Sports Business of the Year,” leading lifestyle media Highsnobiety called adidas “The Most Relevant Brand” and Mark was named “Person of the Year” by Footwear News. Mark was named “Executive of the Year” by the Portland Business Journal in 2016 and 2017. In 2015, Mark was named one of Sports Business Journal’s 50 Most Influential People in Sports Business. In 2001, Mark was named Golf industry’s “Executive of the Year” and was inducted into the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Sports Hall of Fame in 2002. He served as chairman of the National Golf Foundation and was consistently named as one of the ten most powerful people in Golf during his years at TaylorMade-adidas Golf.
Mark currently serves on the Board of Directors for the V Foundation Victory Over Cancer, helping to raise more than $200 million for cancer research in memory of legendary basketball coach Jim Valvano. Mark attended Northern Illinois University for two years on a golf scholarship then transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, where he graduated in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.
Born and raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Mark is a self-proclaimed sports guy who played golf, basketball, football, baseball and hockey in high school. A father of two adult daughters, he resides in Carlsbad, California with his wife Teresa. Together with his daughters, he has raised more than $10 million for children charities around the world through their OneKind Foundation, positively impacting kids in Uganda, India, South Africa and across the United States.