Nike has appointed Nicole Hubbard Graham as its new CMO after the outgoing Dirk-Jan ‘DJ’ van Hameren decided to retire.
Hubbard Graham had previously spent 17 years with the footwear company before departing in 2021 to co-found creative agency Adopt. She has previously held roles across the business including in basketball, consumer divisions and two years spent in the UK as its director of brand marketing.
Her return sees Nike’s CMO of nearly six years Dirk-Jan “DJ” van Hameren leave the business after over 30 years to retire. Van Hameren was an athlete in his own right – representing the Netherlands in the 1992 and 1996 summer Olympics as a track cyclist.
“I’d like to thank DJ for his dedication and commitment to Nike for the past 31 years. His vision and leadership will serve many generations to come,” said Heidi O’Neill, president, consumer, product and brand at Nike. “I am proud of the work he has done to help make Nike the leader it is.”
Her appointment comes amid a bit of a leadership shake-up at the sports giant. Nike is creating a new role of chief innovation officer for John Hoke who departs his role in the design team to Martin Lotti. Dr Muge Erdirik Dogan is also set to join Nike from Amazon as its chief technology officer.
Speaking about these changes, O’Neill notes: “Innovation, design, and storytelling have always been the heart and soul of Nike. These leadership changes enable us to obsess further our unparalleled innovation, product, design, and storytelling to reimagine sport for the next generation of athletes,” she says.
“Together, these leaders will deliver new levels of performance, style and breakthrough storytelling for consumers around the world.”
Nike pledges to ‘stay on the offensive’ as it increases focus on demand creation
Hubbard Graham’s appointment comes at a time when Nike is looking to move away from promotions for its current financial year.
Its CEO John Donahoe said on a call with investors earlier this year (29 May) that he believes the “right focus and attention for Nike is to focus on recovering a higher level of full price growth in fiscal year 2024, profitable growth”.
His words came as the business had posted lacklustre profit growth of 4%: $22.3bn (£17.6bn), up from $21.5bn (£16.9bn) for the full year ending 31 May.
“We feel great about where we are, but we recognise that next year, the environment is going to continue to be promotional and that even puts pressure on our wholesale partners in terms of how they think about managing through the first half of the year,” he added.