Nike shuffles top executives, names new heads of innovation, design, marketing and technology

An aerial view of Nike's headquarters campus, with buildings fronted by black class behind grass and hedges.

Nike on Tuesday announced a string of executive changes designed to accelerate efforts to get new products to market, a focus which analysts have said is needed.Nike photo

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Nike on Tuesday announced a string of executive changes designed to accelerate efforts to develop new products and get them to market quicker, a focus which analysts have said is needed.

The moves include new heads of innovation, design, marketing and technology. They follow a May executive shuffle that was designed to spur “breakthrough innovation.”

“Innovation, design, and storytelling have always been the heart and soul of Nike,” Heidi O’Neill, Nike president of Consumer, Product and Brand, said in a press release. “These leadership changes enable us to obsess further our unparalleled innovation, product, design, and storytelling to reimagine sport for the next generation of athletes.”

In recent months, analysts have said Nike needs to get more new products to market, including in running, Nike’s legacy category, but one where competitors are taking market share.

“Nike has really fallen behind in innovation,” said Matt Powell, senior adviser for BCE Consulting. “During the pandemic they played it very safe with their top-selling items and didn’t bring a lot of new products to market. They’ve recognized that they need to re-energize that engine.”

The changes Nike announced Tuesday:

  • John Hoke, a 30-year company veteran, who previously served as chief design officer, is now chief innovation officer. He will work with Tom Clarke, Nike’s president of innovation.
  • Martin Lotti, a 26-year veteran, is the new chief design officer. He previously served as the chief design officer of Nike’s Jordan brand. He’ll oversee all of Nike’s design work, including footwear, apparel and in retail stores.
  • Nicole Hubbard Graham, who previously worked for Nike for 18 years, is the new chief marketing officer. She succeeds Dirk-Jan “DJ” van Hameren, who’s retiring next summer after 31 years with the company. Graham most recently worked as a cofounder of Adopt, a minority-owned creative agency. Graham is the first woman to hold the title chief marketing officer at Nike, although Liz Dolan led the company’s marketing efforts with a different title.
  • Muge Erdirik Dogan is Nike’s new chief technology officer. She most recently served as president of Amazon Fashion. She also worked as vice president of Last Mile Delivery and general manager of Beauty and Baby in North America. She holds a Ph.D. in mathematical modeling from Carnegie Mellon University.

Lois Sakany, OTR Global director of retail research, said the Jordan brand has had recent success at reaching women and growing its apparel business. Lotti’s promotion means he’ll bring that skillset to the entire Nike brand.

But like Powell she said the bigger story for Nike is a lack of fresh product.

“They’re being hounded by Wall Street about newness,” she said. “They see that as their main issue now and they are reorganizing because they’re not happy with what’s in the pipeline.”

Hoke and Lotti’s new roles are effective immediately. Dogan starts on Nov. 27. Graham will start on Jan. 2.

Hoke, Lotti and Graham will report to O’Neill. Dogan will report to Nike CEO John Donahoe.

“Muge is a consumer-driven leader who prioritizes connecting technology and science to customer experience, product innovation, and supply chain efficiency to drive profitable growth,” Donahoe said in the release. “She joins our deep bench of leadership talent across the enterprise that will lead us to capitalize on the great opportunities ahead.”

Update: This article has been updated with comments from Lois Sakany.

– Matthew Kish;

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