Nike exec exits amid reports of inappropriate behavior

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Parker's memo did not specifically say that any allegations were directed at Edwards, and a spokesman for Nike told the Journal that no allegations were made against Edwards, before refusing to go into details.

"This has been a very hard time", it quoted Parker as saying.

"When we hear of claims we investigate and take the appropriate action", she said.

With Edwards out as steward of the Nike brand, the turnaround effort now falls to the other executives. Nike added in a statement that Mark Parker will remain as Chairman, President and CEO beyond 2020 and Edwards will now serve as an advisor to Parker until his retirement as Nike transitions its organization.

Edwards was one of a handful of executives in line to potentially move into the top job. Another executive, Elliott Hill, was elevated to the role of overseeing the consumer and marketplace division as part of Thursday's announcement. It also eliminated a quarter of its shoe styles and cut 2 percent of its workforce.

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The deal with Dana "provides significantly greater value for GKN's shareholders than the Melrose offer", GKN said. Investor company Melrose has issued a "final offer" as part of its hostile bid to take control of GKN .

I'd like to thank Nike for his significant contributions to Nike over the last 25 years.

Nike representatives confirmed that Martin has left the company, but declined FOX Business's request for comment on the circumstances behind his departure.

A second Nike Inc. executive is departing the company as it conducts a review of improper conduct at the athletic-apparel giant. Edwards, 55, has been at the company since 1992, but ESPN reports there was no talk that he was ready to retire. Since 2013, he has been the President of Nike brand and was considered as the apparent heir to CEO Parker. "He has helped us grow and strengthen our brand on a global scale..."

Shares of Nike, which is scheduled to report third-quarter results next Thursday, were up marginally in trading after the bell.