Complaints of workplace misconduct, harassment, undue touching and other conduct that can create hostile and uncomfortable work environments are rampant these days. Even a well-respected company like Nike is not prone to it. Nike recently publicly acknowledged misconduct among its ranks and simultaneously announced President Trevor Edwards had resigned:
Nike is the latest company to publicly acknowledge the issue of misconduct in the workplace. Yesterday, CEO Mark Parker—who has held the position since 2006—released a statement that alluded to such issues. “Over the past few weeks, we’ve become aware of reports occurring within our organization that do not reflect our core values of inclusivity, respect and empowerment at a time when we are accelerating our transition to the next stage of growth and advance of our culture. This disturbs and saddens me,” his statement read. He added that Nike is “determined to make the necessary changes so that our culture and our company can evolve and grow.”
The statement is vague, and does not cite any employee as having violated company policy. But, notably, the memo was paired with the news that Nike president Trevor Edwards has resigned, and will retire in August. (He will remain as an advisor to Parker until then.) Edwards, 55, reportedly hadn’t expressed intentions to retire, and was rumored to be a potential future replacement for Parker as the company’s CEO. (In his statement, Parker cleared the air and stated that he intends to remain as CEO through at least 2020.) The fact that these announcements were released essentially in tandem has led to speculation that one is connected to the other, though no allegations against the Nike president have surfaced.
Edwards was widely considered to be Nike’s CEO-in-waiting. He would have been one of the few African Americans to head a public-traded company. It also would have made a tremendous statement given that Nike built its brand on the backs of blacks in the inner-city. As president, Edwards was responsible for managing Nike’s worldwide sales across distribution channels – wholesale, retail and e-commerce. This represented Tremendous power in a sales-driven organization like Nike.