Nike’s New CEO Choice Signals the Ever Increasing Value of Digital
On Tuesday Nike announced that longtime CEO Mark Parker, who had overseen tremendous growth and helped fuel digital innovation, would be stepping down and replaced by John Donohoe, CEO of ServiceNow and former CEO of eBay. Though Nike’s Parker was forward thinking in shifting how the company operated as evidenced by this statement in 2017, “Through the Consumer Direct Offense, we’re getting even more aggressive in the digital marketplace, targeting key markets and delivering product faster than ever,” Nike is seeking to digitally transform at an even more rapid pace and Donohoe is seen as the man to do it.
To go from a product insider and Nike lifer such as Parker, who when named CEO was touted for breakthrough work on the Nike AIR, to an outsider such as Donohoe who prior to ServiceNow and eBay had worked at management consulting company Bain & Co. highlights the ever increasing importance of optimizing the customer experience.
Parker helped lead a charge that changed the relationship Nike had with customers, with the introduction of Nike+ and Nike+ Run Club as well as working with their agency R/GA to bolster their e-commerce business. In an article in CNN business, Mark Powell of the NPD Group noted that, “The move to becoming more of a direct-to-consumer company and less of a wholesale company was really the hallmark of his work.”
As noted in our DXE retail report future profits for top performing companies are expected to rise from a better understanding of the digital experience of the customer, and through optimizing experimentation data. And lest you think that this sort of change is solely limited to retail, it isn’t. In the Fast-Food Category this year McDonald’s eliminated their CMO position, with that void to be filled by an SVP of global marketing and an SVP of marketing technology, while Chipotle just crushed earnings based primarily on their digital experiences.
The lessons of these global brand leaders across verticals are clear, digital is not simply the future, it is the optimized present.