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Nike Co-Founder Phil Knight Officially Retires as Chairman

Nike is changing up its executive board.

The athletic apparel and footwear company said Thursday that chairman Phil Knight retired from the board of directors and would be the new chairman emeritus. The board appointed president and chief executive Mark Parker to chairman and hired Apple CEO Tim Cook as its new lead independent board director. All leadership moves marked the completion of a planned transition initiated in 2015.

“Phil’s impact on Nike is immeasurable,” Parker said. “His entrepreneurial drive is and always will be part of our DNA. Along with Nike’s exceptional management team, I am committed to leading our next era of innovation and growth as we serve and inspire athletes throughout the world.”

As the new chairman emeritus, Knight is invited to attend Nike board meetings to advise and observe the company’s future business growth. Knight said he supports the board’s decisions and looks forward to furthering Nike’s place in the future athletic apparel market.

“I could not be more pleased with the board’s thoughtful execution of the succession plan, and am thrilled that an outstanding leader like Mark will head the board,” Knight said. “I intend to continue to work to promote the company’s business in my new role for as long as I can contribute to NIKE’s success and long-term growth.”

Knight sold his Swoosh voting interests to a trust controlled by his son, Travis Knight, who is also a Nike director. After this financial switch, Travis will control two votes on the Swoosh board, with three remaining votes maintained by Nike directors John Donahoe, Alan Graf, Jr. and Mark Parker.