In a surprising move, Adidas has announced that 25-year employee Eric Liedtke will be exiting the company at the end of the year.

Liedtke, whose formal title is Executive Board Member of Adidas AG, responsible for Global Brands, reportedly told the company's Supervisory Board that he would no longer be able to fulfill his role in 2021. Rather than wait until then, Liedtke and Adidas have agreed to mutually terminate his role on Dec. 31 of this year, a move that will allow the brand to find his successor ahead of its next strategic cycle.

Liedtke joined the Three Stripes in 1994 and has been in his current role since 2014. Adidas credits him as being "instrumental" in creating its current business plan, highlighting his work with high-profile collaborators including Beyonce, Kanye West, and Pharrell as well as Parley for the Oceans. In 2016, Liedtke served as a spokesperson during the announcement of an extended long-term partnership with West.

In 2015, there were reports that Liedtke could step into the CEO role once held by Herbert Hainer, a position ultimately filled by Kasper Rorsted.

"Adidas has been my professional home for more than 25 years," Liedtke said in a statement. "Now it’s time to move on to pursue new projects and ventures. It has always been a true honor for me to serve this fantastic company. I am proud about what we have achieved together as a team and I am grateful that I could work together with so many incredible people from around the world who share the love for our brands. Thank you, everyone, it’s been a great ride."