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(NKE) - Get NIKE, Inc. Class B Report

66-year-old co-founder, Phil Knight, resigned as chief executive and president Thursday, to be replaced by William D. Perez, the longtime head of closely held S.C. Johnson & Sons.

Knight, who founded Nike in 1972 with University of Oregon track coach Bill Bowerman, will remain Nike's chairman. Knight asked the corporate governance committee of Nike's board to start a search for potential successors last year.

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Perez, 57, has been president and CEO of S.C. Johnson since 1996. Over his 34-year career with S.C. Johnson, he has managed country, regional and worldwide operations and multiple brands of the highly respected, multibillion dollar global consumer products company.

The stock recently traded at $84.80 on Instinet, down from a close of $85.