Nike to cut jobs, boost direct-to-consumer venture

NEW YORK: Nike said Wednesday it expects to cut jobs as it announced a slew of new executive appointments to accelerate direct-to-consumer initiatives amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The sports giant did not estimate the headcount hit, but said it expects “a net loss of jobs across the company”, resulting in one-time expenses of US$250-US$300 million.

“We are announcing changes today to transform Nike faster, accelerate against our biggest growth opportunities and extend our leadership position,” said chief executive John Donahoe.

“Now is the right time to build on Nike’s strengths and elevate a group of experienced, talented leaders who can help drive the next phase of our growth.”

Before Covid-19, Nike had invested heavily in recent years in upgrading smartphone applications and other tech-focused programmes amid the decline in brick-and-mortar retail and surging activity in e-commerce channels.

But the upheaval of the coronavirus has sped up those trends. Nike said the new structure would be “nimbler” and “flatter” and lead to a streamlining of its corporate leadership team.

Among the appointments, Nike tapped Craig Williams, president of the Jordan Brand, and G Scott Uzzell, president of Converse, to join the executive leadership team reporting to Donahoe.

The company also announced new division chiefs for Men’s, Women’s and Kids, as well as regional leaders in Europe, Middle East and Africa and in Asia Pacific and Latin America.

Shares dipped 0.1% to US$98.24 in afternoon trading.