Phil Knight Takes His Game Off-Campus (But It’s Still His Game)

Ad Age: Some 13 months after his ballyhooed replacement of the legendary Phil Knight, Nike CEO William Perez has stepped down after clashing with Mr. Knight over the direction of the world’s biggest sneaker and apparel company.
Mr. Perez, who resigned as CEO of S.C. Johnson & Sons last year to take over at Nike, said in a statement that he and Mr. Knight “weren’t entirely aligned on some aspects of how to best lead the company’s long-term growth. It became obvious to me that the long-term interests of the company would be best served by my resignation.”
In his own statement, Mr. Knight said: “Succession at any company is challenging, and unfortunately the expectations that Bill and I and others had when he joined the company a year ago didn’t play out as we had hoped.”
Nike brand co-president Mark Parker — who has been with the company for 26 years and was long considered a potential successor to Mr. Knight, Nike’s chairman — will take over as CEO.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Perez made the right move whether his resignation was forced or not. While a fresh mind from an industry can often times bring results, I don’t think he necessarily had the experience to manage the Nike brand and the culture that surrounds it.
    While S.C. Johnson may have their shares of strong brands, I don’t believe there is a single brand that manages to extend beyond the brand and into a lifestyle-type element that Nike does.
    Granted, from the stories I’ve heard about the man, working with/for Phil Knight isn’t exactly a walk in the park. Perez may have simply been what the company needed to at least see an outside view before setting on a course to action to fix some of the problems they were facing.
    (disclaimer in case you mistook for CNBC: I’m a Nike shareholder)

  2. me the genius says:

    anybody remember what happened to Apple when Jobs was kicked out and an idiot CEO of PEPSICO was hired? That dick almost run Apple to the ground. successful companies need visionaries not dingdongs CEOs knowing only the bottom line. on the other hand what the hell is Nike doing? sneakers for $150? maybe the new guy wanted to pay more chinese workers? idiots, dingdons or visionaries, it’s hard to tell them apart sometimes