The PUMA brand’s first step in a long history driven by speed and performance. The brothers Rudolf and Adolf Dassler founded the company “Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik” (Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory) in their hometown Herzogenaurach, Germany. Unbeknownst to them, they placed the founding stone of the world capital of sports shoes.
Within the town, they’re not the only shoe factory. Similarly 50 to 60 small factories are scattered throughout the town. Though many did not manage to survive past the 1950s and 60s. The brothers started their factory in their parents’ home in 1924. Consequently moving into its proper facility in 1927.
Within the first few years, both gain notoriety. First of all a majority of German athletes wear Dassler spikes at the Olympic Summer Games in Amsterdam, 1928. In 1936, Jesse Owens wins four gold medals at the Olympic Games in Berlin. While sporting Dassler spikes. More medals soon followed: seven gold and five bronze medals. Above all for world class athletes wearing Dassler shoes. The first records are smashed as well. Two World and five Olympic records. As a result it’s their breakthrough.
The First Run
In 1948, 24 years after their founding, the Dassler brothers separated over an argument. Subsequently Rudolf Dassler goes on to found PUMA Schuhfabrik Rudolf Dassler. Furthermore with the PUMA ATOM, kicks off a long line of success.
Despite having to start anew, the PUMA brand’s success is undaunted. Their first football boot, the “ATOM”, is launched successfully and several athletes are convinced by its performance. Hence several members of the West Germany national team wear them in the first post-war football match against Switzerland in 1950. Among the players: Herbert Burdenski, the man who scored the first post-war goal that won the match. Likewise for PUMA, this is just the first in a long line of successes.
Rudolf Dassler moved into another building belonging to the family with 13 of his employees. As a result transforming the storage facility into a factory. This is where the PUMA brand has its headquarters to this day.
Birth of an Icon
1957 is the year when the first elements of PUMA’s logo take shape. Rudolf Dassler introduces the unmistakable sans-serif typeface. Along with an image logo. Just a year later, the second brand logo is patented: the “formstrip”. Originally created to stabilize the foot inside the shoe. It is now a typical PUMA trademark found on almost all their shoes and is used as a design element on our apparel products.
In 1967 the cat as we know it today takes a leap. Nuremberg cartoonist Lutz Backes creates Puma’s memorable trademark and one of the most famous trademarks worldwide. Reflecting that, the PUMA product range is extended to also include sportswear, and the logo begins to appear more frequently on products such as performance apparel and bags.
In 1979 the world famous “No. 1 Logo” gets in position: The PUMA takes its leap across the upper right corner of the word logo. Only minor changes have been made over the years. The eye and nuzzle are gone and the ears are more pronounced today.
Success in Stock
In 1986 the company goes public as PUMA AG and their stock is traded on the Munich and Frankfurt stock exchanges. Armin Dassler, PUMA CEO and son of the company founder Rudolf Dassler, celebrates this moment with his colleagues from the board.
In 1993 Jochen Zeitz is appointed CEO at the age of 30. In the process becoming the youngest chairman in German history to head a public company. Zeitz spearheads the restructuring of the PUMA brand, in financial difficulties at the time, and manages to turn it from a low-price brand into the premium sport-lifestyle company and one of the top three brands in the sporting goods industry it is today.
In 2011 the PUMA brand began to trade under the name of PUMA SE. With the completion of the transformation, Franz Koch becomes Chief Executive Officer and succeeds Jochen Zeitz after 18 years as Chairman and CEO of PUMA AG.
As of 1 July 2013, the Administrative Board of PUMA SE appoints Norwegian Bjørn Gulden as new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Consequently the former football professional brings to PUMA an extensive international experience of nearly 20 years in the sporting goods and footwear industry, where he held a variety of management positions.