Nike CEO announces management changes

From Matthew Nish of the Portland Business Journal

New Nike CEO John Donahoe on Tuesday announced a series of senior management changes at the sportswear giant, including a new chief operating officer and a new chief financial officer. The company also named Heidi O’Neill president of consumer and marketplace, one of the company’s top jobs.

Chief Operating Officer Eric Sprunk and Elliott Hill, who previously served as president of consumer and marketplace, will retire later this year.

Chief Financial Officer Andy Campion, 48, will succeed Sprunk as COO, effective April 1. Matthew Friend, 42, who serves as chief financial officer of operating segments and vice president of investor relations, will become the company’s next CFO, also effective April 1.

In December, Nike reported quarterly sales and earnings ahead of Wall Street forecasts. Nike has topped sales estimates 14 of the past 20 quarters and earnings forecasts 19 of the past 20 quarters. Donahoe become CEO on Jan. 13. 

“I am delighted to announce a series of leadership changes today which set up the company for continued growth and demonstrate the strength of the Nike management bench,” Donahoe said, in a news release. “Heidi and Andy’s leadership has been instrumental in both evolving and driving Nike’s strategy over the last decade. In their new roles, we will see them have even greater impact on Nike’s success in the future. Matthew brings more than 10 years of Nike experience to the CFO role and will be a great addition to our executive leadership team.”

Nike’s stock (NYSE: NKE) was flat in after-hours trading within an hour of the announcement. 

“It’s not surprising,” said Edward Jones senior research analyst Brian Yarbrough. “We typically see this when a new CEO takes the slot. It’s not long before you start to see changeover.”

“They are promoting from within … so I expect a seamless transition,” said Poonam Goyal, senior U.S. retail analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence, in an email. 

O’Neill, who serves as president of Nike’s direct business, has been on the rise inside the company. In December 2018, the company added oversight of Nike’s digital products and services to her responsibilities. The company’s current business plan, which it calls the Consumer Direct Offense, focuses on growing digital sales and getting products to market quicker.

O’Neill is now one of Nike’s most senior female executives, along with general counsel Hilary Krane. 

In her new role, O’Neill will oversee Nike’s four geographic sales territories. She’ll also lead global sales and Nike Direct and report to Donahoe. She’s a 21-year company veteran. 

In his new job, Campion will oversee global technology, digital, sourcing, manufacturing, demand and supply management, distribution and logistics, procurement, sustainability and workplace design and connectivity. He joined the company in 2007. 

Yarbrough said Campion, who participates on the company’s quarterly earnings calls with stock analysts, already has shown he understands the company’s supply chain and operations, based on comments on recent calls. 

“He knows everything that’s going on,” Yarbrough said. “He has a good feel for the operational side.” 

Friend, who joined Nike in 2009, worked in investment banking before joining the company. 

Before the company named Donahoe CEO, some Nike employees and industry watchers considered Sprunk and Hill potential CEO candidates. 

On Feb. 12, both Sprunk and Hill notified the company they planned to retire. Both retirements are effective March 31, according to a securities filing

“I would also like to thank Eric and Elliott for their extensive contributions to Nike over so many years. I’m deeply appreciative of everything they’ve done, for their support during my transition, and I am excited for their future,” Donahoe said, in the news release.

Yarbrough said Nike didn’t “miss a beat” in 2017 when several senior executives, including presumed CEO-in-waiting Trevor Edwards, left the company.

“Any time people leave there’s a risk, but Nike has such a deep bench of talent,” he said

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