Nike CEO John Donahoe has sat down for an extensive interview with WWD, detailing his tenure over the past couple of years, how he has navigated the stormy pandemic waters and of course importantly, what he envisions for the future. Among the topics covered, Donahoe opens up on things like internal strategies, for example how they continued to pay retail staff despite closures, how they are looking out for the next generation through the 'power of sport' and more.
Since joining Nike as CEO in January 2020, Donahoe would go on to serve during some of the most uncertain times in history. Donahoe said, ‘As you know, our mission is to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. And if you have a body, you are an athlete. As I reflected, I felt like the world needs sport more than ever before. I’m 61, and we have a more divisive world than at any time in my adult life. There’s polarisation in so many different institutions, both within this country and around the world. And if you think about it, sport is one of the few things that still brings people together — within countries, across nations, whether it’s the World Cup or the Olympics.'
Along with focusing on the power of sports, Nike are looking to further engage with women and will also be launching 'really revolutionary apparel, materials and methods' on the sustainability front.
When asked how Nike connects with ‘weekend warriors, older people’ or anybody who doesn’t have the ‘aggressive mind-set’ of a professional athlete, Donahoe said, ‘We want to expand the definition of sport to new generations and to all. The model is relatively simple and we start focusing our innovation on elite athletes. Let’s take running. We focused on Eliud Kipchoge to break the two-hour mark in the marathon. We created a technology that allows you to run faster with less injury. Then we take that technology and bring it to everyday running shoes. Take The Invincible: it’s a running shoe that has measurable reduction in injuries for everyday runners. So if you’re a first-time runner, the technologies we developed for the elite get pulled into the everyday.'
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