The National Retail Federation on Monday said it will name Mark Parker, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Nike Inc., as “The Visionary,” a new awards category designed to recognize outstanding retail leaders, at its 2017 gala on Jan. 15 in Manhattan.
“There aren’t many trailblazers like Mark Parker in the retail industry or the entire business world,” said NRF president and ceo Matthew Shay. “He’s a guy who took his love for running and footwear design and turned it into a successful career with one of the most iconic brands of our time. He’s a leader, an innovator and a designer. He epitomizes everything The Visionary award stands for.”
NRF this year consolidated its former Gold Medal, Innovator of the Year and International Retailer of the Year — the most prestigious honors the organization bestows — into The Visionary award, which will be given annually to an inspiring leader with a long record for spearheading change. Each year, prominent retail executives will identify an individual who is a disruptor, dreamer, giver, influencer and power player and has changed and continues to transform retail in a significant way.
“I’m honored and humbled to receive this special recognition from NRF,” Parker said. “I’m proud to be part of the team that is leading the transformation of sport retail. With innovative retail experiences around the globe, we want consumers to get the very best of Nike in both our own stores and at our wholesale partners. Being a better retailer makes us a better partner, company and brand and allows us to deliver on our promise of personalizing performance for every athlete, everywhere.”
Parker, who joined Nike in 1979 as a footwear designer, has been at the center of the company’s innovation since. In more than 30 years with the company, he’s held the titles of vice president of consumer product marketing, vice president of global footwear and copresident of the Nike brand. Park is responsible for the growth of Nike’s global portfolio, which includes Converse and Hurley International. Since becoming ceo, Nike’s revenue has more than doubled.
Parker has been involved in several industry breakthroughs at Nike, including Nike Air, Nike Lunarlon, Nike Flyknit and Dri-Fit. He played a key design role this year on the Nike HyperAdapt 1.0, which the company claims is the first self-lacing shoe.
Under Parker, Nike has formed partnerships with the NFL, MLB and U.S. Olympic Committee. Next year, the brand will be the official apparel provider of the NBA.
Nike.com has expanded to more than 40 countries. Parker is committed to growing Nike’s business while cutting in half its environmental impact. With a goal of $50 billion in sales by 2020, Nike’s performance in the fourth quarter slipped as net income fell 2.2 percent to $846 million from $865 million a year earlier, and earnings per diluted share were flat at 49 cents. In 2017’s first quarter ended Aug. 31, the retailer’s revenues were up 8 percent to $9.1 billion and net income increased 6 percent to $1.2 billion. Diluted earnings per share rose 9 percent from the previous year to 73 cents.