Nike brand chief departing amid misconduct allegations
Nike brand president Trevor Edwards is stepping down from that post and retiring from the company in August as Nike evaluates allegations of misconduct, Bloomberg reported on Friday.
The company provided no details to Bloomberg about any alleged behavior except to say, "There had been conduct inconsistent with Nike's principles, and we are taking the appropriate actions," according to the report. Nike didn't immediately return Retail Dive's request for comment.
Edwards had been widely seen as a successor to CEO Mark Parker, who will now stay beyond 2020 in that role, longer than had been planned, according to Bloomberg's report.
There are very few details in news reports Friday about just what led to Edwards' departure. Nike, like Lululemon before it, was vague about a departing senior executive's alleged misconduct.
In Lululemon's case, details eventually emerged anyway. Last month, the athleisure brand ousted Laurent Potdevin as CEO and board member, citing conduct that ran counter to the company's values. News reports followed soon after that alleged Potdevin had carried on a relationship with a subordinate.
Lululemon and Nike are not alone. The #MeToo movement is on retail's doorstep, and several companies have reacted in various ways as sexual harassment claims have surfaced about executives, founders and representatives of their brands
Last month Guess announced an investigation into "recent allegations of improper conduct by Paul Marciano," the company's co-founder, who "adamantly denies" the allegations. In early December, J.C. Penney discontinued sales of Def Jam Recordings co-founder Russell Simmons's apparel label, Argyleculture, after a second sexual misconduct charge emerged. Later that month, Walmart, Target and Eataly — Mario Batali's retail and restaurant business — cut ties with the chef after his admission of sexual misconduct.
And Signet Jewelers' three retail banners — Jared, Kay and Zales — appear to be losing female customers in light of sexual harassment and discrimination issues at the company, according to a brand assessment study from YouGov BrandIndex last year.
Now Nike is investigating reports of "behavior occurring within our organization that do not reflect our core values of inclusivity, respect and empowerment," according to an internal memo cited by the Wall Street Journal that noted the company has "heard from strong and courageous employees."
Also like Lululemon, Nike has a lot to lose, considering its recent sales pitch to women.
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