On the same day one major athleticwear CEO revealed he was stepping down from his role, the leader of the biggest name in footwear and athletic apparel has done the same. Mark Parker, Chairman, President and CEO of Nike, will leave his day-to-day role and transition into the Executive Chairman role, effective Jan. 13, 2020. Board member John Donahoe, who currently serves as President and CEO of cloud computing company ServiceNow, will be the new President and CEO of Nike.
Parker took over the CEO role from Nike founder Phil Knight in 2006 and became Chairman in 2016.Parker has worked with Nike for four decades, including as VP of Global Footwear and Co-President.
Although Donahoe only works with Nike as a Board member, Parker pegged him as the leader to accelerate the company’s digital transformation and build on its “Consumer Direct Offense,” Nike’s direct-to-consumer business growth strategy. In August, Nike acquired Celect, a predictive analytics and demand sensing technology company, to power Consumer Direct Offense, specifically to reduce out-of-stock rates and minimize situations where sneaker and apparel demand remain unplanned.
The strategy has been a windfall for Nike recently, with Q1 revenues soaring 7.2% to $10.7 billion, with digital up a staggering 42%. Nike has forecast revenue growth for the current fiscal year to be up in the high-single-digit range, slightly topping sales growth from last year. In 2019, Nike stock has jumped 29%, bringing the company market cap to roughly $149.2 billion.
The announcement was made mere hours after Kevin Plank, the Founder of Under Armour, revealed he would be passing the CEO baton to current COO Patrik Frisk.
Last year, Parker had said last year he would remain CEO and Chairman of the footwear giant beyond 2020; his remarks came at a time when the company was hit by a series of executive departures (including then-potential successor, Brand President Trevor Edwards) and probes on workplace complaints. After conducting an internal review of its pay practices, Nike overhauled its compensation practices and raised salaries for more than 7,000 employees.
Nike was in the spotlight for its “Dream Crazy” ad campaign featuring former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2018, which generated significant controversy but ultimately increased brand awareness for the sportswear giant.
While Parker made a mark throughout his time at Nike, his replacement has held retail-related roles for a decade. Donahoe is Chairman of PayPal Holdings, Inc. and was President and CEO of eBay from 2008 to 2015. He previously was the CEO and Worldwide Managing Director of Bain & Co. from 1999 to 2005, and a Managing Director from 1992 to 1999.