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Nike CEO apologizes to employees for workplace culture after months of turmoil

  • Nike CEO Mark Parker apologized to employees for permitting a workplace culture where some felt excluded and management didn't take complaints seriously, according to a copy of the speech obtained by CNBC.
  • Multiple executives have left Nike in recent months because of reports of inappropriate behavior and poor workplace conduct.
Nike president and CEO Mark Parker
Jewel Samad | AFP | Getty Images
Nike president and CEO Mark Parker

Nike CEO Mark Parker apologized to employees for permitting a workplace culture where some felt excluded and management didn't take complaints seriously, according to a copy of his speech obtained by CNBC.

In an all-staff meeting, Parker addressed issues that have come into light in recent months. He apologized to employees who felt excluded and like they didn't have anyone to go to with their concerns.

Multiple executives have left Nike because of reports of inappropriate behavior and poor workplace conduct. Fed up with the corporate culture at the Oregon-based company, a group of women started a small revolt.

Parker said this has been "a painful moment" for him. He told employees someone recently told him they didn't feel they fit the Nike profile, according to a copy of his prepared remarks. He said it hurt him to hear that because "there is no Nike profile."

"Throughout all of this change, we — and I — missed something," Parker said, according to a transcript of his prepared remarks. "While many of us feel like we're treated with respect at Nike, that wasn't the case in all teams. And if all of our teammates don't see the same opportunities, we just can't accept that."

The Wall Street Journal was the first to report on Parker's speech.

Parker outlined steps Nike is taking to change its corporate culture, including shifting the company's vision and behaviors it expects. One example is moving from the mindset of Nike being a place where the loudest voices carry the conversation to a place where every voice is heard.

He told employees he can lead the change but he can't do it alone, and it's going to take everyone. He asked them to support each other, be energetic, engaged, constructive and passionate, yet respectful, open and humble.

"Let's move towards that future," Parker said. "I'm in 100 (percent), and I'm counting on you to be all-in too."

—CNBC's Sara Eisen and Jessica Golden contributed to this report