13 Months After Taking Job, William Perez Cites Executive Suite Conflicts

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NEW YORK ( -- Some 13 months after his ballyhooed replacement of the legendary Phil Knight, Nike CEO William Perez has stepped down after clashing with Mr. Knight over the direction of the world’s biggest sneaker and apparel company, Nike said in a statement.
William Perez has resigned his position as CEO, citing differences with Nike Chairman Phil Knight.
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S.C. Johnson Chief William D. Perez Named as Replacement

Mark Parker takes over
Nike brand co-president Mark Parker -- who has been with the company for 26 years and was long considered a potential successor to Mr. Knight, Nike's chairman -- will take over as CEO.

Mr. Perez, who resigned as CEO of S.C. Johnson & Sons last year to take over at Nike, said in a statement that he and Mr. Knight “weren't entirely aligned on some aspects of how to best lead the company's long-term growth. It became obvious to me that the long-term interests of the company would be best served by my resignation.”

'Expectations didn't play out'
In his own statement, Mr. Knight said: “Succession at any company is challenging, and unfortunately the expectations that Bill and I and others had when he joined the company a year ago didn't play out as we had hoped.”

Mr. Knight thanked Mr. Perez for his service, and praised Mr. Parker’s ascension.

“Mark has a proven track record in driving creativity, innovation and growth,” Mr. Knight said. “He's an experienced, talented executive and has played an instrumental role in building our business and making the Nike brand as strong as it is today. Mark is the right person to drive our business forward.”

Quarterly profits up 15%
Nike reported a 15% gain in its latest quarterly profits, leading many to speculate that the problems between Messrs. Knight and Perez were personality driven. The company’s shares have fallen 3% in the past year, mostly on the news that Germany-based competitor Adidas-Salomon would purchase Reebok and become a stronger international player.

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