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Nike Names Global VP of Direct Acceleration as It Leans Into DTC and Digital Channels

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Nike has tapped Maggie Gauger as its new global VP of direct acceleration, the executive announced on Monday via a LinkedIn post.

An almost 20-year veteran of the Swoosh, Gauger most recently served as Nike’s global VP of marketplace, where she led a team of more than 150 people to execute Nike’s B2B platform, according to her LinkedIn. Prior to that, she served as Nike’s VP of global marketplace and categories.

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Nike did not immediately return FN’s request for comment.

According to an update on her LinkedIn profile, Gauger will be charged with leading Nike’s “Direct Acceleration strategy and portfolio” across all geographies. In her new role, she will help oversee key elements of Nike’s “Consumer Direct Acceleration” (CDA) program, which involves zeroing in on DTC and digital channels and pulling out of some wholesale channels. She will also help Nike become a “more direct-led, digital and premium marketplace.”

The appointment comes as Nike forges ahead with its plan to go all-in on its direct and digital capabilities. Nike said in June that it wants to have digital sales make up 50% of revenues by 2025. Nike also wants DTC to make up 60% of sales.

In a March call with investors discussing the company’s results, Nike executives outlined how its CDA program is already yielding strong sales results, offsetting headwinds from a slowdown in China and global supply chain issues.

Nike digital grew 22% in Q3, led by demand in the Nike app. Digital represents 26% of the Nike brand revenue. Sales in Nike locations grew 14% in Q3. In North America, Nike-owned stores grew 16% from improved traffic and activations in key cities.

“Nike’s strong results this quarter show that our Consumer Direct Acceleration strategy is working, as we invest to achieve our growth opportunities,” said Nike CEO and president John Donahoe in March. “Fueled by deep consumer connections, compelling product innovation and an expanding digital advantage, we have the right playbook to navigate volatility and create value through our relentless drive to serve the future of sport.”

As part of its push towards DTC channels, Nike has terminated partnerships with certain retailers such as Zappos, Dillard’s, DSW, Urban Outfitters and Shoe Show. Nike has also cut back on the amount of product it is offering existing vendors, such as Foot Locker, in order to consolidate distribution in its own channels.

In December, Nike acquired RTFKT, a digital creator of virtual sneakers, collectibles and accessories, in a bid to expand its influence in the metaverse. In the wake of the deal, Stifel analysts said the acquisition had “strategic value” to help “expedite the expansion into Nike’s potential NFT offerings.”

To help grow its digital capabilities, Nike tapped Twitter’s former chief designer officer, Dantley Davis, as its VP of digital design last month.