Nike CEO John Donahoe is Fed Up With Remote Work, Says Setup Slows Down Innovation in New Products

By Madz Dizon

Apr 12, 2024 08:17 PM EDT

Nike CEO John Donahoe is Fed Up With Remote Work, Says Setup Slows Down Innovation in New Products
Nike CEO John Donahoe poses for a photograph during a visit to Nike European Logistics Campus in Laakdal, June 7, 2023.
(Photo : JONAS ROOSENS/Belga/AFP via Getty Images)

Nike CEO John Donahoe blames the company's drop in new product releases on the shift towards remote work. 

The company's operations were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, employees were required to work remotely for over two years, leading to the closure of factories, according to Donahoe, who assumed leadership in 2020. 

John Donahoe Blames Remote Work for Nike's Innovation of New Products

During an interview with CNBC's Sara Eisen in Paris, Donahoe addressed the investors' concerns regarding the company's assortment of products and its lack of new products.

Donahoe highlighted the temporary closure of footwear factories in Vietnam due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, he emphasized a more significant aspect, which was the fact that Nike's employees had been working remotely for 2.5 years. 

According to Donahoe, Nike's innovation pipeline remains robust, promising consumers new product releases each season along with the brand's signature storytelling.  

The CEO's remarks come during a challenging period for the organization. Critics have pointed out that the sneaker giant has been lagging in terms of innovation and has been losing market share to emerging brands like On Running and Hoka.

These brands have successfully captured the attention of a new generation of runners and have experienced significant growth in recent years.

In December, Nike unveiled a comprehensive restructuring plan aimed at cutting costs by approximately $2 billion over the next three years. The company also revised its sales guidance, citing expectations of weaker demand in the coming quarters.

After two months, the company announced a reduction in its workforce by 2%, resulting in over 1,500 job cuts. This move was made to allocate resources towards its growth areas, including running, the women's category, and the Jordan brand.

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Nike to Release New Products Soon

On Friday, Donahoe emphasized that Nike continues to excel in the realm of running and sports, asserting that the company is still "gaining share" and maintaining its position as a dominant force.

According to QUARTZ, Donahoe mentioned that the company has plans to launch new products on a seasonal basis, along with a well-planned marketing campaign. It seems like the company is following through on that commitment.

On Thursday, Nike revealed its Olympic Kits for the teams it will be sponsoring at the games. In addition, the company unveiled its latest road running shoe, the Alphafly 3, along with a more budget-friendly option, the Pegasus sneaker. 

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