Nike’s top marketer, Trevor Edwards, is to retire from the company in August after more than 25 years working across the sportswear brand.
Edwards joined Nike in 1992 as a regional marketing manager and has gone on to hold senior marketing positions around the world, including in the Americas, Europe and the US. In his most recent role as president of the Nike brand, he was responsible for leading all category and geographic business units, brand management across the world, and its wholesale, retail and ecommerce operations.
In particular, he spearheaded the creation of Nike+, the company’s digital sports training service, and was key in Nike’s use of social media to connect with consumers. He was seen as a prospective candidate for CEO and so the announcement of his retirement has come as something of a surprise.
Current CEO Mark Parker says: “I’d like to thank Trevor for the important role he has played for 25 years and for his significant contributions. He has helped us grow and strengthen our brand on a global scale.”
Edwards’ retirement has sparked a wider restructure at Nike. Elliott Hill, currently president of Nike geographies, will take over the top marketing job but in a new role of president of consumer and marketplace. That will see him take on responsibility for marketing, geographies, direct and global sales, reporting into Parker.
Michael Spillane will lead on categories, design, product and merchandising, also reporting into Parker, who has confirmed for the first time that he plans to stay in his role as chairman, CEO and president beyond 2020. Edwards will help with this organisational transition until his retirement.
Parker adds: “We are fortunate to have a strong management team in place who is well suited to drive our next stage of growth and to steward and evolve our culture in the future.”
The news of Edwards’ sudden departure comes as Nike launches a review of “improper conduct” at the company. A company-wide email obtained by ESPN says Nike has found evidence of reports that “do not reflect its core values”, although the email does not suggest there have been any allegations against Edwards and a Nike spokesperson speaking to Bloomberg backed up that position.
“Over the past few weeks, we’ve become aware of reports occurring within our organisation that do not reflect our core values of inclusivity, respect and empowerment at a time when we are accelerating our transition to the next stage of growth and advance of our culture,” Parker says in the internal memo. “This disturbs and saddens me.”
Nike has set up a confidential email address and phone line for employees to raise concerns.