Another Nike Exec Departs Amid Conduct Review

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Sarah Blesener/Bloomberg
Sarah Blesener/Bloomberg

A second Nike Inc. executive is departing the company as it conducts a review of improper conduct at the athletic-apparel giant.

Jayme Martin, VP and general manager of global categories at Nike, is no longer with the company, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. Martin reported to Trevor Edwards, president of Nike's brand and a one-time CEO candidate, who stepped down from that role on Thursday.

The Wall Street Journal, which earlier reported Martin's departure, said he was forced out of Nike.

The company hasn't directly linked Edwards's resignation—or any other personnel moves—with the review of employee conduct.

"There had been conduct inconsistent with Nike's principles and we are taking the appropriate actions," spokesman Greg Rossiter said by phone on Thursday, following the announcement of Edwards' departure. There have been no direct allegations against the 55-year-old, Rossiter said at the time.

In announcing Edwards's exit, Nike said that current CEO Mark Parker will stay in the job beyond 2020, delaying a potential succession contest.

In an internal memo alerting employees to Edwards's resignation, Parker mentioned reports of "behavior occurring within our organization that do not reflect our core values of inclusivity, respect and empowerment," according to the Journal. The memo didn't describe the complaints or connect them to Edwards, the newspaper reported. "We've heard from strong and courageous employees," Parker said.

The shake-up comes as Nike tries to cope with a sales slump in its key North American market. Adidas has been taking market share, and the industry is scrambling to adapt to shifting buying patterns. To cope, Nike has forged ties with Amazon and is trying to rely less on retailers that are "mediocre"—a term Edwards himself used.

With Edwards out as steward of the Nike brand, the turnaround effort now falls to the other executives.

The good news is, his departure doesn't seem to be a sign of "business deterioration," Wedbush analyst Christopher Svezia said in a report. "We are also encouraged by Mr. Parker's extended tenure as CEO, which we argue is good for the company."

--Bloomberg News

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