Who’s Nike Owner?
Nike is a global behemoth that generates billions in revenue annually. Founded in 1964 as Blue Ribbon Sports, the company is now known as one of the most recognizable brands in the world.
Phil Knight co-founded the company with Bill Bowerman. He still owns a sizable chunk of the company’s shares and controls 35 million shareholder votes. However, he no longer holds a seat on the board and has been designated as Chairman Emeritus.
Phil Knight is the co-founder and chairman emeritus of Nike, Inc., a global sports equipment and apparel company that is worth $49.1 billion as of 2023. He also owns the stop motion animation studio Laika, which has produced films such as Coraline, ParaNorman, and Kubo and the Two Strings.
Knight first met his future business partner Bill Bowerman at the University of Oregon, where they were members of the track and field team. The pair started their shoe distributorship, Blue Ribbon Sports, in 1964. They began selling shoes from the back of their Plymouth Valiant at weekend track meets.
The company was renamed Nike in 1971, after the Greek winged goddess of victory, and the Swoosh logo was introduced that year. Knight’s family holds 97% of the Class A shares, which give them the power to elect nine directors on Nike’s 12-member board. The rest of the company’s stock is publicly traded and can be sold to outside shareholders.
In 2016, Knight released a memoir titled Shoe Dog, in which he describes how he co-founded Nike and made it into the multibillion-dollar sports gear behemoth that it is today. The book is based on interviews with his family and friends, as well as his recollections of some of the more sensitive moments of the company’s history.
Knight’s family currently holds a large stake in Nike through various trusts and a company called Swoosh LLC, which owns the Nike trademark. The most substantial portion of the family’s shares are Class A shares, which have voting power that cannot be revoked or transferred. This is a feature that is unique to Nike and some other companies. The trustee and beneficiary of the family’s Nike stake is Travis Knight, who is also the president and CEO of Laika animation studio. The studio has created such films as Coraline, ParaNorman, and Kubo and the Two Strings. These movies have been nominated for several Academy Awards.
The Knight Foundation is a private philanthropic organization that has donated more than $41 billion to various educational and cultural causes. The foundation also has a strong focus on journalism education and free press issues. The foundation’s board includes several people who have ties to the publishing industry.
In the early 1960s, Nike co-founder Phil Knight and his college track coach Bill Bowerman started footwear distributor Blue Ribbon Sports in Oregon. They began selling sneakers at weekend track meets and from the back of their green Plymouth Valiant car.
Today, the company has more than 1,100 stores worldwide and is the biggest maker of athletic shoes and sports apparel. Its revenue is over $40 billion. Its founders still have a significant stake in the company. However, the family’s power to influence the company is through Class B shares, which have limited voting rights. They are held by the Travis Knight 2009 Irrevocable Trust II, which is a family trust set up for generational transfer.
Founder Philip Knight still controls a significant stake in Nike, which is worth about $20 billion. His family owns a lot of the company’s stock, including Class A shares that elect members of the board. The family also has a charitable foundation that holds a smaller amount of shares. The foundation has been donating to schools and other nonprofits, and it has received $400 million in dividends.
Knight has transferred most of his Class A shares to a limited liability company. He says this will help maintain the company’s corporate governance. The company has a total of 1,542 million shares, and each share carries one vote.
Nike’s co-founder Bill Bowerman and Knight asked Davidson to create a logo that would stand apart from Adidas’ three stripes. She charged them $2 an hour and created the curved checkmark that became known as the Swoosh. At first, Knight didn’t like the design, but he believed it would grow on him.