It's not Devin Wenig, and it's not Meg Whitman - Nike is hiring former eBay CEO John Donahoe to head the sports apparel and equipment company. He has been on the Nike board of directors since 2014 and has been CEO of ServiceNow since 2017.
Donahoe led eBay as chief executive from 2008 - 2015. When he took over from Meg Whitman as eBay CEO, he displayed his disdain for the marketplace's "flea market" image and chose to focus on large retailers and brands rather than the small sellers for which eBay was known - thus the decision to acquire GSI Commerce in 2011 for $2.4 billion, which was later renamed eBay Enterprise.
Nevertheless, brands like Nike had (and continue to have) a love-hate relationship with online marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon. The platforms are hard to ignore as popular shopping destinations, but they also pose challenges in terms of brand integrity and pricing. In today's press release, Nike indicated it was looking to Donahoe in part for his expertise in digital commerce.
As eBay CEO, Donahoe may best be known for failing to stave off activist investor Carl Icahn who succeeded in breaking up eBay, which is still dealing with the effects of the split with PayPal.
Donahoe oversaw the breakup with PayPal but was replaced as CEO by his subordinate Devin Wenig when the companies officially split in July 2015. (Wenig abruptly departed eBay last month.)
At the time of the split, Donahoe was named PayPal Chairman of the Board, though he no longer held an executive position at either company. The PayPal Investor Relations website outlines Donahoe's career as follows:
"John J. Donahoe has served as Chairman of the PayPal Board since July 2015. Since April 2017, Mr. Donahoe has served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of ServiceNow, Inc., an enterprise cloud company. He served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of eBay from March 2008 to July 2015, and was a director of eBay, from January 2008 to July 2015. From March 2005 to January 2008, Mr. Donahoe served as President, eBay Marketplaces. From January 2000 to February 2005, Mr. Donahoe served as the Worldwide Managing Director of Bain & Company. Mr. Donahoe also serves on the Board of Directors of Nike, Inc. and ServiceNow, Inc."
Note that he had also served on the Board of Directors of Intel Corporation from March 2009 until May 2017.
Donahoe is replacing Mark Parker, Nike CEO since 2006 and Chairman, President & CEO since 2016. Parker will become Executive Chairman and will continue to lead the Board of Directors and work closely with Donahoe and the senior management team.
In Nike's announcement, Parker said this of John Donahoe: "His expertise in digital commerce, technology, global strategy and leadership combined with his strong relationship with the brand, make him ideally suited to accelerate our digital transformation and to build on the positive impact of our Consumer Direct Offense."
Let us know what you think and how former eBay CEO John Donahoe can help Nike navigate ecommerce while protecting its brand.