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Nike outlines plans to reorganize Nike Brand

BEAVERTON, Ore. – Nike Inc. outlined plans Friday to reorganize its namesake brand, part of a broader corporate restructuring that may include the elimination of up to 4 percent of its work force — which would reduce layers of management and focus the Nike brand into six regions instead of four.

“This new model sharpens our consumer focus and will allow us to make faster decisions,” Nike Brand President Charlie Denson said in a statement.

Last month, Nike, the world’s largest maker of athletic footwear and clothing, said it might cut up to 1,400 jobs, but would not know the exact number, timing and location of the positions to be eliminated until a review of its entire business is complete at the end of May, when its fiscal year ends. Nike employs nearly 35,000 people worldwide.

The Beaverton, Ore., company, whose other brands include Converse, Cole Haan and Umbro, reorganized its business two years ago to increase sales and said in February that its latest restructuring effort is the next step in that strategy.

Nike, however, has started in recent quarters to show the pressures of the recession as its sales slowed, particularly in the U.S., where consumers are cutting back sharply on discretionary purchases. The company’s profit, revenue and future orders dropped in its third quarter, the company said Wednesday.

Nike also said Nike Inc. Affiliate portfolio President Lee Bird has left the company to pursue other interests and will be succeeded by Eunan McLaughlin, former vice president and general manager for the Nike EMEA region.

McLaughlin will report to Nike President and Chief Executive Mark Parker.

Shares of Nike fell 15 cents to $46.35 in Friday morning trading.

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