New Nike president 'has some big shoes to fill'

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 June, 2013, 3:55am

Nike, the world's largest sporting-goods maker, has announced a slew of management changes that include repositioning several current executives and the retirement of its second-in-command.

Charlie Denson, a 34-year veteran and president of the Nike brand, will retire in January and be replaced from within the company by Trevor Edwards on July 1, Nike said yesterday in a statement. It also promoted Eric Sprunk to the new position of chief operating officer.

Edwards has "some very big shoes to fill, but they have a very strong, deep management team", said Brian Yarbrough, an analyst with the financial services firm Edward Jones, who has a "hold" rating on the company's shares.

While Nike's sales rebounded after the recession, with revenue surging 16 per cent to US$24.1 billion in the financial year ended in May 2012, growth has slowed in the past three quarters. Revenue in China, Nike's second-largest market, has fallen and the company replaced the head of its business there in May.

Nike shares have risen 18 per cent this year, against an 11 per cent rise for the Standard & Poor's 500 Index.

Denson started at the company in 1979 as an assistant manager of one of its original stores. From there, he worked his way up in the sales department and eventually became head of the Nike brand and co-president of the company with Mark Parker in 2001. Parker then became chief executive in 2006, replacing William Perez.

Sprunk, currently executive vice-president of merchandising and product, will lead all manufacturing, sourcing and information technology for the company.

Edwards, currently executive vice-president of brand and category management, will succeed Denson as Nike brand president with responsibilities that include overseeing the company's retail stores and e-commerce.