Nike CEO Mark Parker, 64, announced yesterday that his 13-year tenure as CEO will come to an end on January 13, 2020. The announcement comes in the wake of years of controversy and rumours surrounding former Nike Oregon Project head coach Alberto Salazar, which culminated in a four-year ban for doping violations, announced on September 30, and the subsequent shutting down of the NOP.
Parker will also resign as Chairman of the Board (a post he has held for two years) and assume the mantle of Executive Chairman.
Parker was widely criticized for expressing support for Salazar and the NOP, and for his tacit approval of the doping experiments that resulted in Salazar’s ban, but denied that his stepping down had anything to do with it. “Parker can’t have it both ways,” former NOP athlete-turned-whistleblower Kara Goucher tweeted on October 11. “You can’t support clean sport and still defend Salazar.”
Feeling relieved that no more athletes will have to wear this shameful uniform. But Parker can’t have it both ways. You can’t support clean sport and still defend Salazar. https://t.co/9CpBWHtDmF
— Kara Goucher (@karagoucher) October 11, 2019
Earlier this year, Nike was the subject of numerous public complaints by its sponsored female athletes (including Goucher, Allyson Felix and Alysia Montaño) over its approach to pregnancy and maternity leave, and has since revised its policies.
Parker started with the company as a 24-year-old in 1979 and worked his way up on the design side of the company. According to a report in CNN Business, he is credited with inventing the Nike Air. The company enjoyed unparalleled growth in both stock value and revenue during his tenure.
Departing @Nike CEO Mark Parker has sent this note to Nike employees.
— Eben Novy-Williams (@novy_williams) October 22, 2019
John Donahoe, a current Nike board member and president and CEO of ServiceNow, Inc. (a California-based cloud computing company), has been named as Parker’s successor as CEO. Company founder Phil Knight resigned as CEO in 2004 but retained his position as Chairman of the Board.
It was the second time this week that the CEO of a major sportswear brand has announced his resignation. Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank is also stepping down.