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Second top Nike executive departs amid complaints of workplace behaviour

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Nike confirmed the departure of a second senior executive within 24 hours Friday, an apparent shake-up after the global sportswear giant acknowledged it had received internal complaints about workplace behaviour.

[NEW YORK] Nike confirmed the departure of a second senior executive within 24 hours Friday, an apparent shake-up after the global sportswear giant acknowledged it had received internal complaints about workplace behaviour.

Jayme Martin, a vice president and general manager of global categories, has left the company, a spokesman confirmed Friday. His departure follows the exit of Trevor Edwards, a top official whose retirement was announced Thursday.

Greg Rossiter, a Nike spokesman, declined to comment on the reasons for Martin's departure, or when he had left.

Martin, who joined Nike in the late 1990s, reported to Edwards, who was seen as a potential successor to Nike's chief executive, Mark Parker. In a statement Thursday that seemed aimed at providing a note of stability, the company said Mr Parker would remain in his role at Nike past 2020.

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The Wall Street Journal first reported Martin's departure Friday.

"Abrupt changes of this nature are rarely good in the short term," said Sam Poser, an analyst with Susquehanna Financial Group, who added that Nike was known for developing and training employees.

"These are the orchestra conductors at Nike," he said of Edwards and Martin. "One individual isn't going to make or break it, generally, but it's just that this was sudden."

In an internal memo to staff Thursday, Mr Parker wrote that the company had received complaints of "conduct inconsistent with Nike's core values and against our code of conduct." "Over the past few weeks, we've become aware of reports of behaviour occurring within our organisation that do not reflect our core values of inclusivity, respect and empowerment at a time when we are accelerating our transition to the next stage of growth and advancing our culture," Mr Parker wrote. "This disturbs and saddens me."

Edwards, who joined Nike in 1992 and eventually rose to become the company's brand president, will depart in August. He will serve as an adviser to Mr Parker until then.

Mr Parker's memo did not characterise what type of complaints Nike had received, or against whom. But a national reckoning over sexual harassment has put pressure on companies in a wide range of industries to seriously address accusations of misconduct against even their highest-ranking officials.

Such accusations have felled celebrity chefs including Mario Batali, film producers including Brett Ratner, and casino mogul Steve Wynn.

NYTIMES

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