Nike is tapping a veteran tech executive to lead the shoe and apparel giant into the future.
Donahoe brings a wealth of tech industry experience to Nike, which is morphing into a tech company in many ways, investing in recent initiatives such as its “Consumer Direct Offense” strategy and its Nike App.
Donahoe has led cloud computing giant ServiceNow since 2017 and was eBay’s CEO from 2008 to 2015. Donahoe became PayPal’s chairman in 2015 and previously spent 23 years at Bain & Company, where he was appointed CEO in 1999.
The Dartmouth and Stanford grad has also been a Nike board member for the past five years and will remain on the board.
“I am delighted John will join our team,” Parker, who has been CEO of Nike since 2006, said in a statement. “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 will become Nike’s executive chairman.
Nike CEO Mark Parker will be replaced next year by John Donohoe, who is most known for his work at eBay, currently the CEO of ServiceNow, a cloud computing company. This is a clear shift to turning Nike into a technology company that happens to sell shoes and apparel.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) October 22, 2019
He's focusing on Donahoe's expertise in the digital space: "I think he's going to help us accelerate our digital transformation."
— John Tierney (@jtierney6) October 22, 2019
Extremely wild week for the sneaker industry:
– Adidas Exec Eric Liedtke is leaving company
– Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank steps down
– Nike CEO Mark Parker steps down
New leadership will carry the industry’s biggest brands starting in 2020 and beyond.
— Nick DePaula (@NickDePaula) October 22, 2019
Former SAP CEO Bill McDermott will take over for Donahoe at ServiceNow, whose shares were down as much as 15 percent in after-hours trading.
Nike shares, meanwhile, hit an all-time high last month, in part due to a stronger e-commerce arm. Its digital business was up 42 percent in the most recent quarter, driven by mobile experiences, as the company saw overall revenue increase 7 percent to $10.7 billion.
The phrase “digital” was mentioned more than 40 times on the company’s earnings call last month.
“While products are usually the first to grab the attention of our consumers, we deepen those relationships through the power of digital,” Parker said on the call. “To do that, we’re investing in three areas. We’re building industry-leading personal experiences, we’re quickly ramping up our back-end capabilities to capture more of that demand, and the final critical piece is to create scale through our own channels and with our partners.”
Nike earlier this month acquired TraceMe, the Seattle startup co-founded by Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and backed by investors including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, YouTube founder Chad Hurley, Alibaba co-founder Joe Tsai, and Seattle-based Madrona Venture Group.
Nike in August bought Celect, a Boston-based predictive analytics company; last year it acquired Zodiac, a consumer data analytics startup, and Invertex, a computer vision startup; and in 2016 it bought Virgin Mega, a digital design studio.
The company is focused on building out its NikePlus membership program that helps build 1-to-1 digital relationships with customers, and is rolling out a new subscription program for kids.
Nike in 2017 debuted an app called SNKRS, using augmented reality and a Pokemon Go-style scavenger hunt to rethink how customers find and buy limited edition shoes.