By Julie Creswell, Kevin Draper and Rachel Abrams
Doris Burke, Alain Delaquérière and Elisa Cho contributed research.
Banners outside the headquarters of Nike. While the #MeToo movement has led to the downfall of individual men, the kind of sweeping overhaul that is occurring at Nike is rare in the corporate world.CreditNatalie Behring/Getty Images
For too many women, life inside Nike had turned toxic.
There were the staff outings that started at restaurants and ended at strip clubs. A supervisor who bragged about the condoms he carried in his backpack. A boss who tried to forcibly kiss a female subordinate, and another who referenced a staff member’s breasts in an email to her.
Then there were blunted career paths. Women were made to feel marginalized in meetings and were passed over for promotions. They were largely excluded from crucial divisions like basketball. When they complained to human resources, they said, they saw little or no evidence that bad behavior was being penalized.
Finally, fed up, a group of women inside Nike’s Beaverton, Ore., headquarters started a small revolt.
Covertly, they surveyed their female peers, inquiring whether they had been the victim of sexual harassment and gender discrimination. Their findings set off an upheaval in the executive ranks of the world’s largest sports footwear and apparel company.
On March 5, the packet of completed questionnaires landed on the desk of Mark Parker, Nike’s chief executive. Over the next several weeks, at least six top male executives left or said they were planning to leave the company, including Trevor Edwards, president of the Nike brand, who was widely viewed as a leading candidate to succeed Mr. Parker, and Jayme Martin, Mr. Edwards’s lieutenant, who oversaw much of Nike’s global business.
Others who have departed include the head of diversity and inclusion, a vice president in footwear and a senior director for Nike’s basketball division.
From left, Trevor Edwards, Nike’s former president; Jayme Martin, Mr. Edwards’s lieutenant, who oversaw much of Nike’s global business; and Mark Parker, the company’s chief executive.CreditFrom left, Johannes Simon/Getty Images; LinkedIn; Mike Lawrie, via Getty Images