Nike wouldn't be where it is today without Phil Knight, who helped establish the brand in 1964, originally as Blue Ribbon Sports. Today it's being reported that he will step down from his current role as chairman in 2016, according to the Associated Press.
In the report, it says that Knight wishes Mark Parker, the brand's current CEO, to take his place. Knight, who is 77, is said to "transfer most of his Nike stock to a limited liability company," according to the AP. Knight's son, Travis, was also appointed to a spot on Nike's board today.
ESPN Sports' Darren Rovell reports that Knight will transfer $13.88 billion of this stock into a new LLC called Swoosh.
Knight's 128.5 million Class A shares that will be held in Swoosh LLC are designed to preserve Nike's long-term vision, indicating the new company won't be a totally new venture. The directors of Swoosh will be Knight, Parker and Nike directors Alan Graf and John Donahoe. The appointment of current Nike directors and insiders could mean Knight wants to make it harder for an outsider to seize control of the company, potentially avoiding a hostile takeover.
In a Nike press release, Parker said, “Phil founded Nike to serve athletes. That vision and inspiration continues to drive our success today around the world. I have been privileged to work with Phil for over 35 years, and Nike's exceptional management team and I are committed to building on Phil’s vision to drive the next era of growth for Nike.”
Expect more details to follow.