Nike has promoted company veteran Michael Spillane to the head of global footwear role as it redoubles efforts to protect its share of the category.
The role is a combination of vice-president and general manager responsibilities.
Spilliane’s appointment, given his success at revamping Nike’s China business, reflects the thrust the company wants to give its footwear efforts amid pressure from fast-growing Under Armour and New Balance.
Both companies have chipped away at the category in recent years and Nike sees this is as the right time to reassert its authority when it comes to athletic footwear.
Nike is expected to grow is global market share in athletic footwear to 27.2 per cent by 2020.
The company’s executives told analysts in December that it would gain higher profit margins from successes in getting people to trade up to premium footwear in 2015.
It is accelerating innovation around footwear this year, a plan that will particularly focus on women. The business believes women could add an additional $2bn to its annual sales by 2017.
The projections bandied about reflect the scale of Spilliane’s challenge. With nearly ten years at Nike, the executive has held positions including chief executive of Converse and president of Umbro, of which he oversaw the divestment in 2012.
Most notably, Spilliane is credited with resolving the company’s woes in Greater China where sales have settled in recent quarters following a downturn.
Angela Dong will replace Spillane as vice president and general manager of Greater China, reporting to Elliott Hill, president of geographies and sales for the Nike brand. Dong is currently chief financial officer for the region.