Nike Co-Founder Phil Knight Will Step Down as Chairman

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Phil Knight, the Nike Chairman who co-founded the sportswear giant back in the late '60s, has announced plans to step down in 2016. The 77-year-old has endorsed current Nike President and CEO Mark Parker as his successor. "For me, Nike has always been more than just a company -- it has been my life's passion," Knight said in a press release on the brand website. "Over the years, I've spent a great deal of time considering how I might someday evolve my ownership and leadership of Nike in a way that benefits all of our stakeholders. Today, we have taken a number of important steps that will continue to promote Nike's long-term growth." According to Knight, he will transfer most of his Nike stock to a limited liability company called Swoosh LLC, whose directors will be Knight himself, Parker, and Nike directors Alan Graf and John Donahoe. The new company will hold 128.5 million of Knight's Class A shares, or about 15% of the total outstanding Class A and Class B stock. Swoosh LLC will be "designed to make thoughtful and forward-looking decisions with respect to the ongoing voting and management of those shares," Knight said.