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Nike CEO Mark Parker to step down in January

Thomas Barrabi

Mark Parker, the longtime Nike CEO who has weathered a series of public relations crises in recent months, will step down from his post in January, the company announced on Tuesday.

Nike said that John Donahoe, the former eBay CEO and a member of Nike's board of directors, will succeed Parker as CEO effective Jan. 13, 2020. Parker will remain with the company as executive chairman and lead its board of directors.

“This is an exciting time for Nike where we see brand strength and momentum throughout the world and great opportunity for future growth,” Parker said in a statement. “I am delighted John will join our team. His expertise in digital commerce, technology, global strategy and leadership combined with his strong relationship with the brand, make him ideally suited to accelerate our digital transformation and to build on the positive impact of our Consumer Direct Offense.

Parker has served as Nike's CEO since 2006 and added chairman and president titles in 2016. The company has experienced steady financial growth under Parker's watch, with more than $39 billion in revenue in fiscal 2019. Nike said last year that Parker would remain in his role "beyond 2020," but did not provide specifics.

Parker's future at the company came into question in recent months amid a series of scandals at the sportswear giant. Nike cut ties with several executives in 2018 after several female employees raised concerns about a toxic culture and inappropriate workplace conduct. The situation led Parker to apologize to employees during an all-hands meeting in May 2018.

Earlier this year, several Nike-sponsored athletes accused the company of enforcing financial penalties if they missed performance goals due to pregnancy, prompting the company to change its policy.

Parker drew renewed scrutiny earlier this month after U.S. Anti-Doping Agency officials issued four-year bans to a Nike-affiliated doctor and running coach for experimenting with performance-enhancing drugs. A report prepared for anti-doping officials uncovered evidence that Parker had direct knowledge of the experiments, which took place at Nike facilities.

The outgoing Nike CEO denied wrongdoing in a memo to employees obtained by FOX Business.

"Nike did not participate in any effort to systematically dope any runners ever; the very idea makes me sick," he said.

Nike shares were flat in trading on Tuesday.

Nike announced that Parker would step down just hours after rival sportswear firm Under Armour announced that its founder Kevin Plank would step down. Plank will become executive chairman and brand chief.

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