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Nike's Mark Parker to step aside as CEO next year; remains board chair

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Athletic apparel and footwear maker Nike announced a managment shift it says aims to ramp up efforts to use technology to boost growth

Sporting goods giant Nike named a new CEO on Tuesday to take over from Mark Parker, who will continue to lead the company's board of directors.

John Donahoe will replace Parker as president and chief executive officer effective January 13, Nike said in a statement.

Parker said Tuesday the change was part of Nike's efforts to accelerate the "digital transformation" of the company's business.

Parker, who has served as CEO for more than a decade, and as chairman, president and CEO since 2016, will become the board's executive chairman, working closely with Donahoe, Nike said.

Donahoe currently is president and CEO of ServiceNow, a tech services firm, as well as a member of Nike's board, a position he will retain after the transition.

Parker said the change is aimed at using technology to boost the company's output and efficiency, and pointed to Donahoe's "expertise in digital commerce, technology, global strategy and leadership," which "make him ideally suited to accelerate our digital transformation."

Speaking moments after the announcement on CNBC, Parker said the goal is to use digital tools to lift "our ability to actually compete and grow our business."

"This is all about accelerating that strategy," he said, adding that he will be "very actively engaged," working with his successor "to make sure that this transition is as smooth as successful as possible."

- Marred by scandal -

Under Parker's leadership, Nike sales grew and stock prices soared.

But the company has been tainted by scandal in recent weeks after it shut down an elite training program for distance runners after top coach Alberto Salazar was banned for four years for doping.

Parker, who initially stood behind Salazar, said Tuesday the management shakeup "has absolutely nothing to do with that situation."

Last year about a dozen executives were pushed out at Nike and Parker apologized in a scandal that included reports of widespread sexual harassment and bullying, embarrassing the "Just Do It" brand that was characterized by equality and empowerment.

Nike shares closed down 0.6 percent on Tuesday. In after-hours trading following the announcement, shares in the company were largely unchanged at $95.65.

The footwear and apparel company has beefed up its "Nike Direct" business through smartphone applications and other programs and reported a 25 percent jump in profits in the latest quarter with $10.7 billion in revenues.

The biggest jump in sales was in China, where revenues rose 22 percent to $1.7 billion compared with 2018.

The Nike change was the second management shakeup at a sporting goods company on Tuesday, after Under Armour founder Kevin Plank announce he will step away on January 1.