Another flurry of departures of top executives and another exposé in the New York Times—once again highlighting alleged harassment—isn’t likely to take down Nike Inc. But it certainly may give customers, particularly the women it’s been working so hard to woo, a reason to boycott the brand.
The brand has been wracked by internal turmoil in recent weeks at its Beaverton, Ore. HQ—starting with the highly-publicized exit of brand president Trevor Edwards, who was heir apparent to succeed chairman and CEO Mark Parker. That news triggered more exits—including Edwards’ second in command, the company’s head of diversity, a VP-level footwear executive and a director at Nike basketball—as well as allegations of misconduct and a toxic workplace environment (for women).
Now the New York Times reports that five more executives have left the company, including the head of performance marketing and a director of sports marketing, along with a creative director involved in advertising starring the British musician FKA twigs.
The latest exits follow an April 28th exposé by The New York Times, using interviews with more than 50 current and former employees detailing a sexist workplace culture and atmosphere. While CEO Parker issued an apology on May 5th, for some it may have sounded hollow.
“I apologize to the people on our team who were excluded, and I apologize if some of those same people felt they had no one to turn to,” Parker told employees. “I want everyone at Nike to know their voices do matter and your bravery is making us better.”
Add Nike Women to the list of aggrieved parties. It’s a shame to see a brand that has produced female empowerment platforms such as those below—including inclusive sizing, the “Da Da Ding” campaign in India and a hijab for Muslim women—not practice internally what it has preached externally.
Seems it’s long overdue for Nike’s C-Suite to pay attention to its own brand creative celebrating women—here’s a refresher to get them started: