Nike Will Lay Off 2% of Employees

“We are not currently performing at our best.”

Nike employees protest in 2019. (Wesley Lapointe)

Nike is laying off 2% of its workforce, the Oregon sportswear giant’s CEO said in a companywide email tonight.

“This is a painful reality and not one that I take lightly,” wrote president and CEO John Donahoe in the email, sent to employees shortly before 5 pm Thursday and obtained by WW. “We are not currently performing at our best, and I ultimately hold myself and my leadership team accountable.”

Donahoe wrote that the first round of layoffs would begin Friday morning and continue through next week. He said a second round would be completed by the end of May.

Nike employs around 83,000 people worldwide, about 12,000 of whom work inside the berm around the company’s Beaverton headquarters. It’s likely that many of the layoffs will be on the campus, since Donahue said the cutbacks wouldn’t affect store employees, store managers or distribution center workers.

The Oregonian reported in December that the company had quietly started laying off employees, but the scope of the culling was unclear.

Nike in December warned that it would have to cut $2 billion in costs over a three-year period due to consumers being more careful with spending on non-essentials. As other footwear and athletic-wear brands have risen in popularity, Nike has struggled to remain as dominant in the industry as it once was.

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