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My name is Mark Parker, CEO of Nike Inc—the world leader in sportswear and sports equipment. I was born in Poughkeepsie, New York and received my education at Penn State University, where I graduated with a bachelors degree in Political Science in 1977. I was immediately offered a job at Nike’s Research and Development Facility in Exeter, New Hampshire. I worked in various Nike Divisions for 27 years until my appointment as the CEO in January 2006 (Birger & Stire, 2006). My focus has especially been on research and development of new products within the company and its affiliates. The strength of Nike’s R&D has been the driving force for growth that has been experienced by the company since its inception. Indeed, this division has been a major source of competitive advantage. This strength has resulted to Nike becoming a trend setter in sportswear industry.
Successes achieved by Nike in the last three decades are currently being used as foundations to build competitiveness, which will aid in navigating future challenges as well as taking advantage of market opportunities. Among the challenges to be faced by Nike in the near future is the Adidas-Reebok Merger (Holmes, 2006). The two companies could develop certain synergies that Nike will have to confront. But as the company has shown previously, it is in such challenges that result to increase in competitiveness. Rather than seeing the Adidas-Reebok as threat, we at Nike are taking it as an opportunity to increase competitiveness. However, a more serious challenge facing Nike is the appreciating Yuan, the Chinese currency (Birger & Stire, 2006). Nike manufactures most of its products in this low-cost country and subsequently export to the world market. In this regard, an appreciating Yuan will lead to increase in the cost of production, which would force significant increase in product prices worldwide. This could end up chipping into productivity, profitability and market share. To solve this looming crisis, the management is diversifying production centers in various countries, as well as improving efficiency and production in Chinese economy. In line with creating opportunities out of challenges, Nike is embarking on marketing its products in fast rising Asian economies, including China.
At Nike, leadership through delegation of duty and managers being their followers’ example has been the center of company’s success. This has provided employees at all levels with opportunities to run company affairs in best ways they know how. The company’s skillful employees have historically responded with increased productivity. Indeed, being tasked with well defined responsibilities has resulted to the development of a culture that cultivates independently with minimal supervision, as well as being effective when working in teams. This practice agrees with situational form of leadership, which calls on managers to keep employees well motivated (Yukl, 2004, p. 125). Further, the leadership style has left the management with ample time to develop and implement business strategies that will improve company’s long run competitiveness. Most importantly, management will be able to focus on ways of maintaining high standards in its competitive industry, especially seeing that high standards are maintained in the many production centers scattered all over the world. Despite operating in many countries with diverse operational requirements, Nike will continue striving for a uniform high standard to be employed in all its affiliated facilities.
Birger, J. & Stire, D. (2006). CEO on Hot Seat . Retrieved June 25, 2008, from <
Holmes, S. (2006). News Analysis: Nike . Retrieved June 25, 2008, from, from <
Yukl, G. (2004). Organisational Leadership . Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.