Nike co-founder Phil Knight retires from board

PORTLAND, Ore. – Nike said Thursday that its co-founder and chairman Phil Knight has retired from its board and CEO Mark Parker has been named the new chairman.

The move completes a transition plan that was announced last year.

Knight, 78, started the business selling shoes out of the back of his car and helped build it into the world’s largest athletic shoe and clothing company. He will become chairman emeritus, which enables him to attend board meetings as an observer.

“Phil’s impact on Nike is immeasurable,” Parker said in a statement. “His entrepreneurial drive is and always will be part of our DNA.”

Parker, 60, has been president and CEO of Nike Inc. since 2006.

The Beaverton, Oregon, company also announced that Apple CEO Tim Cook, on its board since 2005, will become its lead independent director.

Nike also said Thursday that Knight has sold his voting interests in Swoosh LLC to a trust controlled by his son and board director Travis Knight. Phil Knight formed Swoosh over a year ago to hold the majority of his shares of Nike Class A common stock, which aren’t publicly traded. After the sale of Swoosh voting interests, Travis Knight controls two of the five votes on the Swoosh Board.