Nike’s No. 2 is out as the company addresses complaints of inappropriate workplace behavior

Trevor Edwards has resigned as Nike brand president.
Trevor Edwards has resigned as Nike brand president.
Image: AP Photo/ Dado Galdieri
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Nike says its number two executive, brand president Trevor Edwards, is stepping down. No reason was provided in the official announcement, but a separate memo about his departure, which was sent from CEO Mark Parker to Nike staff and reviewed by the Wall Street Journal, also noted that the company has received reports from employees about inappropriate workplace behavior.

The memo did not explain the nature of the complaints; nor did it directly tie them to Edwards or any other executive. But shortly after the initial announcement came word that a second executive, vice president Jayme Martin, who oversaw big Nike businesses lines including women’s, running, training, and basketball and reported directly to Edwards, also would be departing.

Parker told employees in his memo that the company had gotten complaints of “behavior occurring within our organization that do not reflect our core values of inclusivity, respect and empowerment.”

According to the Journal, the company received complaints about Martin. A Nike spokesperson says there have been no allegations made against Edwards, and that the company “does not discuss individual employment actions.” Nike did not make Edwards available for comment. (We have reached out to Edwards directly and will update this story with any reply.)

What’s clear is that Parker is now reorganizing Nike’s leadership, in a significant shakeup for the world’s largest athletic brand.

Edwards was widely considered a frontrunner to be the company’s next CEO. With him out, Parker says he will stay on as Nike’s CEO and chairman beyond 2020, when he will turn 65.

It does not appear that Nike will immediately replace Edwards, who joined the company in 1992 as a regional manager and rose steadily to become the president of Nike’s namesake brand in 2013. His resignation is effective immediately, though he will officially retire in August and will advise Parker through the transition.

Elliott Hill, who was previously president of Nike geographies, is being elevated to the new role of president of consumer and marketplace. Michael Spillane, Nike said, will continue to oversee categories, design, product, and merchandising. Both will report directly to Parker under the new structure.

“I’d like to thank Trevor for the important role he has played for 25 years and for his significant contributions,” Parker said in a press release about the shakeup. “He has helped us grow and strengthen our brand on a global scale.”

In the employee memo, the Journal reports, Parker said Nike is now reorganizing its leadership to “allow for closer management and a sharper focus on our culture.”

This story has been updated with information about the departure of a second Nike executive, Jayme Martin.