Knight the King: The Founding of Nike

Posted: 17 Apr 2012

See all articles by Noam Wasserman

Noam Wasserman

University of Southern California - Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies

Kyle Anderson

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: June 24, 2010

Abstract

It had taken Phil Knight sixteen long years to build Nike into the number one athletic-shoe company in the country. When Knight had first conceived of the company for an MBA class project, Adidas had had more than 80% market share, but Knight's marketing approach had revolutionized the industry, his company had developed several ground-breaking shoe technologies, and Nike's brand had become one of the most recognizable in the world. In 1980, the same year that Nike had knocked Adidas off its throne, Nike had gone public and Knight, its founder-CEO, still owned close to half of the company. He had led the company through dramatic changes as it evolved from a scrappy start-up to a large public company. However, now, barely half a decade later, Knight had just received the news that Nike itself had been dethroned by Reebok, an upstart competitor. Knight closeted himself in his office, faced the wall, and sat there, weak and sick and devastated for hours.

Learning Objective: To examine the dramatically different stages of development of an industry-leading company that was led by the same founder-CEO from inception through IPO.

Suggested Citation

Wasserman, Noam and Anderson, Kyle, Knight the King: The Founding of Nike (June 24, 2010). Harvard Business School Entrepreneurial Management Case No. 810-077. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2041414

Noam Wasserman (Contact Author)

University of Southern California - Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies ( email )

United States

Kyle Anderson

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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