NEW YORK - Nike Chairman Phil Knight plans to step down and says he wants President and CEO Mark Parker to succeed him.
Nike (NKE) says it expects to name a new chairman in 2016, but no specific date was set for Knight's departure. Knight, 76, says he plans to stay involved with the company.
Phil Knight co-founded Nike and has been a director of the footwear and athletic apparel and equipment maker since 1968. Parker has been Nike's president and CEO since 2006.
Knight also says he will transfer most of his Nike stock to a limited liability company called Swoosh LLC. The directors of the company will be Knight himself, Parker and Nike directors Alan Graf and John Donahoe. On Tuesday, Knight said he had transferred 128.5 million shares, or about 15 percent of Nike's total outstanding shares, to Swoosh.
Because Knight owns a large amount of Nike's Class A shares, which aren't publicly traded, Swoosh now has the power to elect three-quarters of Nike's board.
Knight says the move will help keep Nike's corporate governance strong.
As of a year ago, Knight owned about 75 percent of Nike's Class A shares and a fraction of a percent of its Class B shares. The Class B shares are currently trading around all-time highs and closed at $108.02 on Tuesday.
On Thursday Nike said its annual profit grew 22 percent to $3.27 billion and its revenue rose 10 percent to $30.6 billion.
The Beaverton, Oregon-based company also named Knight's son Travis to a spot on the board Tuesday. Travis Knight, 41, is the CEO of animation studio Laika and was producer and lead animator on the movies "ParaNorman" and The Boxtrolls."