Nike co-founder Phil Knight is planning to step down as chairman of the world’s largest sportswear brand next year, as it looks to establish “long-term stability in the ownership and governance of the company”.
Knight named Mark Parker, the current chief executive of Nike, as his choice to become the next chairman of the company. The sportswear giant confirmed that Nike board of directors expects to officially appoint a new chairman sometime in 2016.
77-year-old Knight, who is worth an estimated 24.3 billion dollars according to Forbes, said that he will continue to be “actively involved” with the company after he steps aside as chairman.
As part of the move, Knight has created a limited liability company called Swoosh, LLC, which will hold the bulk of his Nike shares, representing around 15 percent of the company.
Swoosh, LLC will have a separate board of directors with five votes to serve as its governing body. Knight will hold two of the votes, CEO Parker will hold one, eBay CEO John Donahoe II will hold another, and FedEx CFO Alan Graf Jr. will hold the fifth.
Commenting on the news, Knight said: “I have long felt a great responsibility to provide clarity and certainty for the long-term governance and leadership of Nike and for my ultimate transition as chairman.
“I have worked closely with the Nike Board in developing this plan and in identifying the most qualified person to serve as my successor in this role. I believe Mark is the best choice to succeed me. He has been an outstanding CEO for the past nine years, and has demonstrated time and again his love for this company and his clear vision for capturing the tremendous potential Nike has to innovate, inspire, and drive growth.”
Nike’s statement also added that it had appointment Knight’s son, Travis Knight to its board of directors, effective immediately.