What were the considerations that Fortune took into account in determining its 2015 Businessperson of the Year? It turns out the calculus wasn’t as complex you may think. At the top of the list: concrete results, and as we saw in a recent profile in The Wall Street Journal, Mark Parker has done what all CEOs are supposed to do: increase revenue. For the introverted Nike lifer who still likes to collaborate on sneaker designs, the numbers tell the tale. Since his installation as CEO, Parker has doubled Nike’s profits and revenues, and the company’s stock has risen six-fold. “It’s about time the media discovered Mark Parker,” says Nike co-founder Phil Knight. “It’s like, where have you been? He’s been a nine-year sensation.”
According to Fortune, the game plan behind Parker’s success — and by extension, the success of the Swoosh — is complex, but also paradoxically simple:
That’s the easy-to-express, hard-to-execute nub of Nike’s formula: Consistently come up with new ideas, then market full-out. Having institutionalized the process for innovating, the company has a long list of growth opportunities. It has all but promised, for example, that it will debut an entirely new shoe for the 2016 Rio Olympics, just as it launched its Flyknit technology at the 2012 Games in Beijing. Nike has identified its women’s category as ripe for growth: Women’s shoes and apparel account for only 20% of revenue. Noting that the Jordan brand is overwhelmingly U.S., male, and related to basketball, the company thinks it can expand beyond all three. It recently dispatched Michael Jordan himself to China to celebrate the brand’s 30th anniversary and raise its profile.
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