Nike CEO Mark Parker announced earlier this week that Trevor Edwards, thought to Parker’s heir apparent, would be resigning as brand President. Though the company did not cite specifics as to why Edwards was stepping down and “no direct allegations” have been made against him, an internal memo noted that the company would be investigating “reports of behavior occurring within our organization that do not reflect our core values of inclusivity, respect and empowerment”. According to a WSJ report, Edwards and another senior executive (Jayme Martin, who also has since been forced out) engaged in demeaning behavior towards female employees; while their underlings bullied colleagues without repercussion. Intending to communicate some leadership stability, Parker announced he’ll remain in his current role until at least 2020.
Howie Long-Short: NKE reported Q3 ’18 fiscal results after the close on Thursday. A “significant reversal of trend in North America” (attributed to React cushioning technology), growth in DTC sales (i.e. increase in gross margins) and international sales (+24% YOY in China, +19% in Middle East and Africa) highlighted a report that beat analyst expectations (revenue + 7% to $8.98 billion). Shares were up 6% in after-hours trading (as of 9:30p EST). It should be pointed out the timing of Edwards and Martin’s departures coincides with the company’s decision to increase its investment in women’s footwear and apparel.
Fan Marino: Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway became the “first signature shoe athlete” to become a head coach, taking over the job at his alma mater the University of Memphis; a fact that was not lost on Memphis head football coach Mike Norvell, who showed up at practice this week wearing a pair of blue Air Foamposite Ones in Royal. Penny has a storied relationship with Nike (see: lil’ Penny), but this hire is about winning games not retro sneakers and Hardaway can coach; he built East Memphis into a H.S. powerhouse (3 straight state titles). Now he may have his first big recruit, a 4-star named Alex Lomax. Lomax, who’s played for Hardaway since middle school, has been released from his commitment to Wichita State and is expected to sign with the Tigers. James Wiseman (a 6’11 Center), the #1 overall recruit in the Class of ’19, also played for Hardaway in both high school and on the grassroots level and is expected to consider playing for Memphis.
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