Meet Jan Brecht
Adidas Group CIO Jan Brecht is 42, and joined from Daimler AG in 2009, where he was based in Detroit as CIO Americas. He studied theoretical electrical engineering and applied mathematics, then went international very early in his career, with stints in France, the U.K. and the U.S.
Asked about key turning points in his career, Brecht says, "It's the big project in which you grow." A huge international expansion into China and South Africa when he was working in IT at Mercedes meant the company needed a scalable solution much faster than anything it had before. "It was a huge challenge at the time, that kept me up at night. But we managed. And you always build on these experiences, right? They help you not only from a technical perspective but also I hope from a maturity perspective."
Then, prior to taking on the CIO role at Daimler, he went to the US to integrate IT after DaimlerChrysler AG was formed by a merger in 1998 - only to then have to also take it apart when the majority stake in Chrysler Group was sold in 2007. "That was one of the biggest M&A projects in the history of this planet, I had the pleasure, or the challenge, to lead the IT part of that. It was a very stressful time, and it certainly helped me to grow," Brecht says.
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