Mr. Charlie Denson – B.S., Marketing, 1978
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Nike on Thursday announced several major changes in its executive hierarchy, starting with the pending departure of Nike Brand president Charlie Denson. The company also announced the ascension of a pair of executives — Trevor Edwards and Eric Sprunk — positioning the two as potential chief executive candidates when Mark Parker eventually steps down. The changes, affecting more than 10 top executives, come at a time when Nike is enjoying robust growth, expanding its global footprint and churning out an array of new products. The company’s stock, $60.78 at Thursday’s close on the New York Stock Exchange when the changes were announced, is near its 52-week high. The revamped leadership team also will have an opportunity to immediately put its imprint on a major global event — the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. While marketing, planning and product creation already is well underway at Nike for soccer’s crown jewel, the new team will undoubtedly have an important say in how things roll out. Denson and Parker would seem to have been joined at the hip in their run at Nike, having both been employed at the company for more than 30 years. At one time, they were co-presidents of the Nike Brand. Nike did not make Denson, 57, available for an interview. “Charlie’s contributions to Nike are deeply significant and he’s helped build the brand around the world,” Parker said in a statement. “I’ve worked with him for more than 30 years and I will miss him.” Another key departure announced Thursday was that of Gary DeStefano, president of global operations. DeStefano, 56, has been with the company for 31 years. Denson and Parker have seen rapid growth at the company since 2006, when Parker was named chief executive. In 2006, the company finished its fiscal year with about $15 billion in sales. At the end of the most recent fiscal year, last May, the company had $24.1 billion in sales. Parker’s future appears to be assured until at least 2017. In May 2012, the Nike board granted Parker a $20 million “restricted stock unit retention award,” intended to keep him at the company for at least another five years. Parker, 57, who still reaches into his past as a shoe designer to produce footwear such as the Nike Flyknit running shoe, next will oversee the multi-million dollar expansion of the World Headquarters campus near Beaverton. These are the key players helping the company achieve its goals: Edwards, 50, currently the executive vice president of brand and category management, will become the new Nike Brand president effective July 1. In that role, he will lead category and geographic business units, the Jordan Brand, Action Sports which includes Hurley International LLC, Digital Sport and brand management throughout the world. Sprunk, 49, currently the executive vice president of merchandising and product, will become Nike’s chief operating officer, leading manufacturing, sourcing, information technology and procurement. In this role, Sprunk will also continue to oversee the company’s efforts to drive innovation in the supply chain, such as incorporating waterless dying into the fabric production. Jeanne Jackson, president of direct-to consumer, will become president of product and merchandising. Dr. Thomas Clarke, currently president of new business development, will become president of innovation. Hilary Krane, becomes executive vice president, chief administrative officer and general counsel. Elliott Hill, vice president and general manager of North America, will become president of geographies and sales. Jayme Martin, vice president and general manager of global running, will become vice president and general manager of global categories. Nike Golf will now report to Martin. Christiana Shi, vice president of e-commerce, will become president of direct to consumer, leading Nike’s retail and e-commerce organizations. Joaquin Hidalgo, vice president and general manager of emerging markets, will become vice president and general manager of North America. Roland Wolfram, vice president and general manager of Nike Football, will become vice president and general manager of emerging markets.