Sports giant Adidas is reported to be actively seeking a replacement chief executive to take over from Herbert Hainer.
Hainer has held the role since 2001 and is under contract until 2017. However, the board of the German business has criticised his performance after Adidas lost ground to US rival Nike.
Hainer was forced to write to staff to confirm the news of the recruitment drive after it broke in a German magazine, according to City AM.
Despite the news, Hainer will announce his long-term strategy on March 26 alongside current global brand chief Eric Liedtke and sales boss Roland Auschel, who are already being tipped as potential successors.