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More heads roll as Nike revisits workplace culture

More than a decade ago, operations management at Nike (NKE) was thrown into turmoil when the company tweaked its supply chain system to integrate technology. While the sneaker giant made large strides in bringing its highly complex network to order over the years, a fresh problem popped up in the form of rival Adidas eating into its market share on the home turf.

Recent developments indicate the company has more simmering issues to deal with, even as it grapples with operational challenges and falling revenues.

The ongoing management shakeup at Nike, which started with the departure of president Trevor Edwards nearly a month ago, took a turn for the worse this week. It is learned that Edwards, touted as the next CEO of the largest athletic brand in the world, announced his retirement following allegations of workplace misconduct by some women employees.

Soon after Edwards’ exit, general manager of global categories Jayme Martin, who worked under the former, announced his decision to quit.

The management shakeup at Nike started with the departure of president Trevor Edwards nearly a month ago

According to sources close to the matter, Antoine Andrews, head of diversity and inclusion, abruptly left the job early this week. One day later, senior brand director Vikrant Singh and VP of digital-marketing innovation Daniel Tawiah left without specifying the reason.

It did not end there! The very next day, head of footwear division Greg Thompson followed suit, ending his decade-long association with the company. Interestingly, the Nike management is maintaining an intriguing silence on the matter, withholding details of the realignment at the top level.

The shakeup appears to be linked to a survey carried out by some female employees last year about misconduct on the part of the company’s executives, which later came to the notice of CEO Mark Parker.

Parker in his latest response on the issue said incidents of inappropriate workplace behavior would be dealt with strictly, clearly referring to the allegations of gender bias and misconduct.

Parker also reaffirmed his resolve to ensure “an environment where every Nike employee can have a positive experience and reach their full potential,” still not clarifying what the issue is all about. Continuing the trend that started last month, Nike’s stock lost nearly 4% since markets opened on Wednesday.

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