Nike Chairman Phil Knight to step down in 2016

Change at the top at Nike

Nike, the world's largest sports shoe company, said Chairman and co-founder Phil Knight would step down next year.

Knight recommended that Chief Executive Mark Parker succeeds him as chairman. Parker has been CEO since 2006.

Chairman since 2004, Knight said in a statement on Tuesday that he would continue to play an active role in Nike even after his tenure ends.

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Knight, 76, owned a 16.26 percent stake in Nike as of Dec. 31. He will transfer most of those shares, representing about 15 percent of Nike's common stock, to Swoosh, a limited liability company.

Nike said it appointed Knight's son Travis Knight to its board.

The company, which Knight co-founded in 1964 with Bill Bowerman, has raced ahead of rivals such as Under Armour and Adidas with its Jordan, LeBron, and Kobe basketball shoe brands, popular with young Americans.