While adidas is in the midst of what could be their biggest year ever, some major happenings are beginning to unfold behind the scenes.

It was just this past January that adidas CEO Herbert Hainer, who joined the company in 1987 and eventually worked his way up to CEO in 2001,  vowed he wouldn't step down. Now, Hainer has confirmed that the Three Stripes is beginning a search for his successor after all. "The Supervisory Board will now start to look for the best possible candidate for my succession both inside and outside the adidas Group... This will be a long-term process that has just begun," said Hainer. 

In March 2014, Hainer's contract was extended until 2017 in hopes that it would "give sufficient time for a smooth transition in order to optimize the process of succession," said adidas Chairman Igor Landua. Now, it appears that the plan has been put into motion.

Hainer has announced that on March 26, he will spearhead a long-term succession plan that will likely pass his reigns to Global Brand Chief Eric Liedtke or sales boss Roland Auschel. Thus far, Hainer has been adamant about seeing his contract through to 2017, but things could change at any given moment.

[via Fashionista and Reuters]