Nike’s Phil Knight Breaks Silence on Management Shake-up
Nike’s founder Phil Knight has broken his silence over the executive scandal that has rocked the company he founded more than 50 years ago.
The pioneering business executive who launched Nike with a $50 loan from his father to create what has become the most successful athletic brand in the world said he was shocked by recent allegations of widespread misconduct in the brand’s upper ranks.
“It was a shock to me personally and to a lot of the upper management, and it’s disappointing,” Knight said on a talk show about the recent departures of 10-plus executives, all of whom were allegedly doers or enablers of misbehavior at the firm.
The company has been on a blockbuster run for decades — unveiling in 2015 an ambitious five-year revenue target of $50 billion.
A report by Yougov Brandindex this month indicated Nike’s consumer perception has largely held steady over the past several weeks, following an initial sharp — but short- lived — drop in mid-march when stories of the brand’s internal issues first emerged.
And despite the fact that women were supposedly on the receiving end of the alleged mistreatment at the brand, Yougov found that women consistently had a more favorable view of Nike than men during the tumultuous period.
Knight also called out the brand’s efforts to get closer to women, “The female market has been extremely important to us for a long time. Serena Williams is a role model for all of us.”