Former Nike CEO Mark Parker Named Chairman of Walt Disney Company

(Lead image via The New York Times/Getty Images)

Former Nike CEO Mark Parker joins The Walt Disney Company as he has been elected Chairman of the Board following the company’s annual meeting of shareholders. Parker has been an independent director for Disney since 2016 and remains an Executive Chairman of Nike, Inc..

Parker will succeed Susan Arnold as independent chairman, who will not stand for re-election due to Disney’s 15-year term limit under the board’s tenure policy. As a result, the Walt Disney Company Board will size down to 11 members.

I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as Disney’s Chairman, and I look forward to working closely with Bob and his management team on a strategy of growth that balances investment with profitability, while preserving Disney’s core mission of creative excellence, to deliver shareholder value. At the same time, it is the top priority of mine and the Board’s to identify and prepare a successful CEO successor, and that process has already begun.

Mark Parker

Parker served as Nike’s Chairman and CEO until 2020, when he became Executive Chairman. As CEO, Parker endured legal pressure as a 2018 lawsuit revealed internal details of pay disparity, sexual harassment, and more. Since then, Nike has made efforts to close the gender pay gap, which former Nike employees alleged to have been an upwards of $11,000 between 2015 and 2019.

Parker will be tasked as chair of the new Succession Planning Committee of the Board, which will advise the board on CEO succession planning, including review of internal and external candidates.

“Mark Parker’s vision, incredible depth of experience and wise counsel have been invaluable to Disney, and I look forward to continuing working with him in his new role, along with our other directors, as we chart the future course for this amazing company,” said Robert A. Iger, Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company.

The Walt Disney Company Board is committed to evolving to ensure it has the right combination of backgrounds, skill sets, and perspectives to guide Disney into the future. The Disney directors of today bring experience across a range of disciplines such as creative branding, marketing and retail, direct-to-consumer expertise, and innovative technology.

“Mark Parker is an incredibly well-respected leader who over seven years as a Disney director has helped the Company effectively navigate through a time of unprecedented change,” said Arnold. “During his four decades at Nike, Mark has led one of the world’s most recognized consumer brands through various market evolutions and a successful CEO transition, and he is uniquely positioned to chair the Disney Board during this period of transformation.”

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