Phil Knight, Mark Parker
Chairman; President, CEO; Nike Inc.
2008 Rank: 1
Even the mighty swoosh felt the chill of 2009’s economic winter. In February, Knight, 71, and Parker, 53, announced the athletic giant would restructure, laying off 4 percent of its global workforce — revising the tally even higher in May, to 5 percent. Sales in apparel, footwear and the Umbro and Cole Haan brands slumped, as did future orders across the board. But the company is hoping for stronger and more profitable times ahead. With a leaner and meaner staff, Parker said on the company’s first-quarter earnings call that for 2010, Nike would be even more focused on product innovation, with the upcoming World Cup providing opportunities for development. And with longtime CEO Jack Boys out at Converse and former North American President Michael Spillane in, could changes be afoot for that brand as well?
Power Players: Charlie Denson, president, Nike brand; James Seuss, CEO, Cole Haan; Spillane, CEO, Converse