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UPDATED: Phil Knight To Step Down as Chairman of Nike

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Nike Chairman Phil Knight

Phil Knight is stepping down from his position as Nike Chairman by 2016. 

Knight has indicated to Nike's board that he would like them to make President and CEO Mark Parker the next chair.  

At 76, Knight has also indicated he will still stay involved with the company, as will his family.  Knight’s son, Travis who is an Academy Award nominated filmmaker, was named to Nike’s board today as well. 

Upon hearing the news former NIKE CIO Anthony Watson, commented to GoLocalPDX early this evening: "Phil Knight created one of the worlds most valuable companies. I only met Phil a handful of times whilst I was at Nike, but when I did spend time with him he was always warm, focused and engaged. It was always obvious Nike is his life’s passion. Mark Parker is the perfect choice to replace Phil when he steps down. Mark is one of the most inspirational CEO I’ve ever had the privilege to work for. In a word he’s brilliant. I miss working with Mark a lot."

“For me, NIKE has always been more than just a company – it has been my life’s passion,” said Knight in a press release from Nike today.  “Over the years, I’ve spent a great deal of time considering how I might someday evolve my ownership and leadership of NIKE in a way that benefits all of our stakeholders. Today, we have taken a number of important steps that will continue to promote NIKE’s long-term growth.”

Knight leaves Nike in good hands. Last week, Nike stated its annual profit grew 22 percent to 3.27 billion and its revenue rose 10 percent to 30.6 billion. 

ESPN Sports' Darren Rovell reports that Knight will transfer $13.88 billion of this stock into a new LLC called "Swoosh."

Knight added, “As I announced today, I have created Swoosh to hold the majority of my shares of NIKE Class A Common Stock. Swoosh will itself have a governance structure that is designed to make thoughtful and forward-looking decisions with respect to the ongoing voting and management of those shares. I believe this structure will maintain NIKE’s strong corporate governance, which has focused our management on serving the consumer and pursuing profitable, long-term growth.”



Related Slideshow: The Best Wieden + Kennedy Ads for Nike

Take a look at a swarth of Nike ads created by Wieden and Kennedy throughout the years.

From claymation to technology to the the ultimate child prodigee - Wieden has done it all to help create and reinvent the Nike brand.

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Baby Tiger

This W+K ad took the legacy, skill and training of young Tiger Woods all the way to the links in Scotland and the British Open.


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Nike Evolution

The early Nike ads  were maybe not the most creative by today's creative standards, but the brilliance of the Nike Evolution ad was that it made a sneaker a piece of technology. It may be the first time that a sports product was sold with the idea that an athlete could gain an advantage through apparel or footwear.


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Just Do It

The first time the iconic tagline, "Just Do it" was ever used in a Nike ad was in 1988. It was not Michael Jordan, but a guy named Walt Stack - take a look.


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Mars Blackmon made Spike Lee, elevated Michael Jordan's cred, made millions for Nike and thrust W+K into the first class designation as a global ad agency.


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Before Tiger there was no Nike Golf. This ad was the foundation to the development of the product line. Tiger was a different golfer: He was the first athlete in the game, strong and brilliant. No golfer ever looked so cool.


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Michael Jordan may be the greatest basketball player ever. But what made him a marketing superstar was the Air Jordan positioning - the sub brand created by Wieden + Kennedy.


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Bo knows. Bo Jackson may have been the greatest athlete of all time, but no one would have known if it were not for the amazing creative developed by Wieden + Kennedy for Nike. Bo knows and we know Bo.


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Lil Penny

Lil Penny was in part the brainchild of creative Stacy Wall at W+K and rolled out Chris Rock as the alter ego to Orlando Magic guard Penny Hardaway. 

Claymation never played so well as the moment when Lil Penny hit on Tyra Banks.



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