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A 31-Year Look at Mark Parker's Nike Career

How Mark Parker helped create Nike's success.

Photographs Courtesy of Nike
Photographs Courtesy of Nike


Mark Parker joins Nike as a footwear designer and product tester.

1980 Revenue $270 Million


Nike goes public. B shares set at $22, close at $23.


Parker moves from the R&D facility in New Hampshire to Oregon HQ as director of design concepts and engineering.
Parker designs the Odyssey, a running shoe focused on stability.


Parker's Pegasus hits the market. The line, including 2009's Air Pegasus 26+, is still Nike's most popular running shoe.


Parker and Tinker Hatfield work on the first cross-training shoe. John McEnroe tries a prototype and wears the cross-trainer for the rest of his career.


The Visible Air technology, patented in Parker's name, debuts. More than 600,000 pairs of the Air Max alone are sold.


Parker becomes VP of R&D. The first Visible Air shoe in the Michael Jordan line is released.

1990 Revenue $2.2 Billion



Parker begins commissioning artists, such as Futura 2000, Mr Cartoon, and Os Gêmeos, to create limited-edition sneakers.


Parker, now VP of consumer product marketing, helps sign Tiger Woods to a 20-year, $40 mil-lion endorsement deal.


As general manager of global footwear, Parker drives Nike's purchase of Cole Haan, the first in a series of acquisitions that includes Hurley and Converse.


Parker green-lights the Presto, an ultralight running shoe at less than 20 ounces.

2000 Revenue $9 Billion


Parker and Charlie Denson become copresidents of the Nike brand.
Parker helps recruit marathoner Paula Radcliffe.


HTM, an exclusive line of shoes designed by Parker, Tinker Hatfield, and Hiroshi Fujiwara, launches.


Parker okays work on Nike Free, which simulates barefoot running.
Parker's third year as copresident is marked by multimillion-dollar endorsement deals with LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Serena Williams.


Parker oversees creation of the yellow Livestrong band for the Lance Armstrong Foundation.


Parker becomes CEO. He launches Nike+iPod and designs the first Nike+ shoe.

2010 Revenue $19 Billion



Nike stock closes at a record high in April.

A version of this article appeared in the September 2010 issue of Fast Company magazine.