Consistently named as one of the world’s most valuable brands with its closest competition raking in less than half of its revenue, Nike has much to thank CEO Mark Parker for. Having ballooned Nike’s market capitalization from $16.39 billion USD in 2006 at the beginning of his tenure, to a whopping $86.2 billion USD and 48% of the American athletic footwear market today (in comparison, adidas only owns 9%), Parker deserves due recognition from Fortune magazine as its “Businessperson of the Year” for 2015. In the video above, Fortune‘s Adam Lashinsky explains their decision in naming Parker for the title, citing his very close relationship to the product having risen up the ranks of Nike from the role of footwear designer. Read an excerpt from Fortune‘s interview with Nike founder Phil Knight discussing Parker’s role and success below, and find the full feature here.
Parker is something of an oddity in a world of big-ego, headline-grabbing CEOs. Introverts, after all, aren’t the norm in the executive suite. But people like Parker and Apple’s Tim Cook AAPL -0.24% are showing that reserved types can deliver. Parker’s meticulous approach to product development, known as “design thinking,” is all the rage, thanks to the acclaim of Apple’s products under its famed designer Jony Ive. Parker remains committed to his original craft: He still noodles on two limited-run sneaker lines with famed Nike designer Tinker Hatfield, one of them with Nike spokes-icon Michael Jordan and the other with Japanese stylemaker Hiroshi Fujiwara.
Nike’s performance, like a seasoned champion that continues to steamroll the competition, has prompted Fortune to name Parker its Businessperson of the Year for 2015. Given that students of management are always looking for role models, it’s also a good excuse to investigate what makes Parker tick. After all, he is the rare successor of a celebrated founder who has taken his company to new heights. It is time, as Phil Knight tersely observed, to discover how Mark Parker does it.