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Nike Chief Quits After a Year

William Perez cites differences with Chairman Phil Knight.
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chief William Perez quit after a year on the job, citing differences with Chairman Phil Knight over the company's direction.

The Beaverton, Ore., shoemaker said Mark Parker becomes CEO and replaces Perez on the board. Parker, a 27-year Nike veteran, was co-president along with Charlie Denson.

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"Succession at any company is challenging, and unfortunately the expectations that Bill and I and others had when he joined the company a year ago didn't play out as we had hoped," Knight said. "I want to personally thank Bill for his dedication and commitment over the past year."

Parker, 50, joined Nike in 1979 and has served in various management capacities in product design, development, marketing and brand management. He is widely recognized as the product visionary for the Nike Air franchise and many other industry-leading product design and performance innovations. Prior to heading the Nike brand, Parker ran the company's multibillion dollar footwear and apparel businesses.

Denson, 49, becomes president of the Nike brand. He joined Nike in 1979, starting as an assistant manager in one of Nike's original retail stores in Portland, Ore. He has held a variety of senior general management roles including leadership of Nike's U.S. and European businesses.

Perez joined Nike in December 2004 after a long career with S.C. Johnson, based in Racine, Wis.

"I have great respect for the Nike brand, the company and the board," Perez said. "Nike is an incredible organization with tremendous growth opportunities. However, Phil and I weren't entirely aligned on some aspects of how to best lead the company's long-term growth. It became obvious to me that the long-term interests of the company would be best served by my resignation."