Phil Knight “The creator behind the powerful shoe brand ‘NIKE’

Introduction

Philip Hampson aka Phil Knight was born on February 24, 1938. He is an American business tycoon and philanthropist. He is the co-founder and chairperson of emeritus of Nike, Inc., where he previously was CEO of the company. In November 2015, Forbes ranked Knight as the 15th richest person in the world, with a calculated net worth of US$28.1 billion. He is also the owner of the stop motion film production company Laika.

Phil Knight has always been involved in donations and charity work, he has donated millions of dollars to both his educational institutes: the University of Oregon and Stanford Graduate School of Business. Knight has been the highest donator in history and in 2016, he had the record of largest individual donation ever to a university with a $400 million gift to Stanford’s new Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program.

Early life

Phil Knight was born in Portland, Oregon. His father is Bill Knight, who was a lawyer but later turned into newspaper publisher and his mother is Lota (Hatfield) Knight. He is raised in Portland’s neighborhood of Eastmoreland and attended Cleveland High School.  the son of lawyer turned newspaper publisher Bill Knight and his wife Lota (Hatfield) Knight.

Knight got his higher education at the University of Oregon (UO) in Eugene, where he is a graduate brother of Phi Gamma Delta (“FIJI”) fraternity, served as the sports reporter for the Oregon Daily Emerald and got a journalism degree in 1959.

As a middle-distance runner at University of Oregon, his best record was 1.6 km in 4 minutes, 10 seconds, and he won varsity letters for his track performances in 1957, 1958 and 1959.

Career

Phil Knight was a certified Public Accountant (CPA), in the early years with Price Waterhouse and then with Coopers and Lybrand. He later started teaching accounting as a professor at Portland State University.

Nike

Phil Knight was admitted in the Army and served his one year service on active duty and six years in the Army Reserve, right after graduating from the University of Oregon. He enrolled in Stanford Graduate School Business after the year of active duty.

He once shared that in one of the Frank Shallenberger’s Small Business class, he discovered that he was an entrepreneur. Knight states in a Stanford Magazine article: “That class was an ‘aha!’ moment … Shallenberger defined the type of person who was an entrepreneur–and I realized he was talking to me. I remember after saying to myself: ‘This is really what I would like to do.'”

He completed his degree and graduated with a master’s degree in business administration from the school in 1962.

Phil Knight decided to travel the world and made a plan to have a trip around the world after graduation, in between the trip he made a stop in Kobe, Japan, in November 1962. He, in Korea, discovered the Tiger-brand running shoes, manufactured in Kobe by the Onitsuka Co. He was totally astonished by the quality and low cost that he decided to meet Mr. Onituska and luckily, he got the meeting fixed. Knight was successful in securing the distribution rights for the western United States at the end of the meeting.

Knight upon receiving the shoe samples immediately sent two pairs to Bowerman at the University of Oregon in a hope to gain both a sale and an influential endorsement. Bowerman liked the shoes very much and to Knight’s surprise, he not only ordered the Tiger shoes but offered to become co-partner with Phil Knight to provide him with product design ideas. The partnership was signed between the two men by handshake on January 25, 1964, and Blue-Ribbon Sports was born. Later, the name turned into Nike.

Knight’s first sales were made out of a now legendary green Plymouth Valiant automobile at track meets across the Pacific Northwest. By 1969, Knight had believed that this is his job and he left his accounting job to become full-time worker at blue ribbons.

Jeff Johnson, who was the first employee of Nike, suggested the name for company “Nike,” named after the Greek winged goddess of victory. Nike’s “swoosh” logo, now considered one of the most powerful logos in the world, was commissioned for a mere US$35 from Carolyn Davidson in 1971.

Knight resigned as the CEO of Nike on November 18, 2004, few months after the death of his son Matthew’s, though he retained the position of chairman of the board. William Perez replaced Phil Knight for the position of CEO, later he was also replaced by Mark.

In 2011, the Matthew Knight Arena at the University of Oregon was built in the name of honor

Amid the 2009-2010 period, Knight was the biggest single supporter of the battle to crush Oregon Ballot Measures 66 and 67, which, once passed, expanded wage assess on a few companies and high-pay people.

As indicated by February 10, 2012, documenting by lawyer John F. Coburn III, in the interest of Knight, Knight possessed 67,097,005 offers of Class A Common Stock and 7,740 offers of Class B Common Stock in the Nike organization.

In June 2015, Knight and Nike declared that he would venture down as the organization’s director, with President/CEO Mark Parker to succeed him. In any case, a date had not been set for his exit, and he said he wants to stay required in the organization. Knight’s retirement from the Nike board produced results toward the finish of June 2016.

His book “Shoe Dog”

At the year of 2015, Phil Knight made a statement that he was writing a book about his struggling early days with the brand “Nike”. The memoir is titled to be Shoe Dog and it was released on April 26, 2016. He wrote about the difficult times when he went through to build the brand “Nike” from importing Japanese shoes to being part of a federal investigation.

Personal life

Phil Knight is married to Penelope “Penny” Parks, the pair met while he was working at Portland State University and were married on September 13, 1968. They have a home in La Quinta, California.

 

 


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