Nike’s CEO John Donahoe on wartime leadership (Rapid Response)


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When he became CEO on the eve of the pandemic, Nike's John Donahoe starting game plan revolved around listening and being out in the marketplace. But when lockdowns began rolling through, he quickly adjusted, assuming what he calls a "wartime" approach to leadership. Donahoe's view is that top-down stewardship matters now more than ever. To not only survive the pandemic but come out in a stronger position, he is leaning into the brand’s legacy, his team’s strengths, and booming direct-to-consumer digital engagement. He's also tapped an innovation pipeline that's helped Nike release a new product every two weeks. The world needs sport to bring people together, Donahoe says, and Nike is at the center of that. Doubling down on that mission, he says, drives passion from both consumers and employees, pushing forward a message of hope and unity.

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