BusinessOctober 7, 2014

Nike Golf president Cindy Davis retires

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Nike announced that a successor to Davis, 52, will be named at a later date.

"We thank Cindy for her leadership throughout the years as she has led the development and growth of Nike's golf business worldwide. Under Cindy's direction, Nike Golf has steadily delivered profitable growth year after year since 2009," said Jayme Martin, vice president and general manager of Global Categories, in a news release.

In Davis's six-plus years at the helm, Nike Golf has seen its sales hold relatively steady and the company remain one of the game's leading brands yet still trail TaylorMade-adidas Golf, Callaway Golf and Acushnet. Sales were $725 million in May 2008, and $789 million through the fiscal year ended May 2014. The 2014 numbers were about equal to 2013's figure of $792 million.

Named president of Nike Golf in 2008, Davis has overseen Nike's golf division through a transition between two of the game's dominant players. When she started as president, flagship Nike endorser Tiger Woods was the No. 1 player in the world. Upon her departure, the company's other leading endorser, Rory McIlroy, was the game's top golfer. It was Davis who presided over the signing of McIlroy, announcing the sponsorship deal with McIlroy during a memorable event in Abu Dhabi in early 2013 that included rock music, bright lights and fireworks.

Davis told the Portland Business Journal then, "Rory is joining us at a different time in our evolution and at a time when we are beginning, in a sense, to becoming, as we should ultimately be, the global leader in golf."

Since 2008, the year Davis took over, Nike staffers have won more majors than any other company with seven. The list includes Trevor Immelman (2008 Masters), Woods (2008 U.S. Open), Lucas Glover (2009 U.S. Open), Stewart Cink (2009 British Open), Charl Schwartzel (2011 Masters), McIlroy (2014 British, 2014 PGA Championship).

Davis previously served as Nike's general manager, starting in 2005. Before Nike, she served as senior vice president at Golf Channel. She also was CEO at The Arnold Palmer Golf Company, helping to take the company private before its sale to Callaway Golf in 2000. She was named to Sports Illustrated's 50 Most Powerful People in Sports in 2013.

Davis played collegiate golf with LPGA major champion Dottie Pepper at Furman, where she was an All-American and runner-up at the NCAA Championships in 1983.

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