Nike Chief Information Officer Anthony Watson—one of the very few and first openly gay top executives in Fortune 500 companies—quit his job very suddenly December 10 for what he called "personal" reasons on Twitter. He'd arrived at Nike only this April, after a job as CIO of the European and Middle Eastern markets for Barclays bank, which left room for a lot of speculation as to the reason for his mysterious-seeming departure.
Well, according to Fortune magazine, the reasons were indeed personal. Portland, whatever its hold on the national imagination, is apparently still basically a boring backwater hick town with no social scene—provided, that is, your idea of a social scene isn't eating elevated streetside waffles and drinking really yeasty beer after a bracing hike up Dog Mountain in your best fleece with your golden retriever, who is being ridden by your pet cat, who likes bacon.
Now, a source close to the situation has toldthe precise reason for Watsonâs departure: though he was happy with his job, he was unhappy with the social scene (or lack thereof) in Portland. âAs a single gay guy from London,â the source says, Watson âunderestimated what it would be like. It was a culture shock. And thereâs no point in having a great job if you feel unhappy with your surroundings.â The decision to leave the shoe giant crystalized for Watson while home in London with his family over the Thanksgiving break.