Horst Dassler was the President of Adidas from 1984-1987. Horst Dassler was the son of the founder of Adidas: Adolf Dassler. Adolf Dassler was president and owner of Adidas until his death in 1978. Horst Dassler and Kaethe "Kathe" Dassler - Kaethe Dassler was the wife of Adolf and mother to Horst - took over the day-to-day management of Adidas after the death of Adolf. In 1984, when Kaethe Dassler died, Horst took sole control of Adidas and was it's president from 1984-1987.
Horst Dassler worked for Adidas for most of his working life, and played a key role in making Adidas a global sporting goods brand during his father's lifetime. Horst Dassler was primarily responsible for marketing the Adidas brand: ensuring that leading sports stars, like Franz Beckenbauer, wore and promoted the Adidas brand. He did court controversy at times: persuading a gold winning swimmer to wave a pair of Adidas shoes on the medal podium. Patrick Nally and Horst Dassler were close business friends and pioneered the idea of 'blue chip' sponsoring the largest global sports events and tournaments.
Horst Dassler helped João Havelange become the President of FIFA in 1974; ensuring that Adidas would continue to sponsor the FIFA World Cup by providing the matchballs at every future FIFA World Cups. While Horst Dassler marketing genius at Adidas, he also founded Adidas France, and founded the Arena swimwear brand. Horst Dassler co-founded International Sport and Leisure: this company has a controversial history due to it's partnership with FIFA. Due to Horst's close relationship with João Havelange, he managed to make International Sport and Leisure the broadcasting rights partner of FIFA. After Horst's death, International Sport and Leisure were accused of providing kickbacks to high ranking FIFA executive committee members. Horst Dassler helped Sepp Blatter become the general secretary of FIFA; Adidas' close relationship with FIFA, and the companies failure to criticise Sepp Blatter, has led to negative reports in the media from 2010-2015.
Horst Dassler died on the 9th of April, 1987; at the time of his death, the cause of his death was not revealed, but it was believed to be cancer. Horst Dassler died at the age of 51; his death was unexpected, and subsequently left Adidas in a leadership crisis. Adidas eventually became a public company and the Dassler family sold their controlling interest. Thanks to large bank loans, Frenchman Bernard Tapie purchased a majority stake in 1989; Tapie could not afford to servive the interest of the loans and nearly led Adidas into bankruptcy.