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Nike CIO Resigns

The company offers no explanation for the change, which comes soon after Nike's new CEO takes the helm.

In an unexpected move, Nike Inc. CIO Gordon Steele left the company on Jan. 5. No successor has been named, and a spokesman declined to comment on the reason for Steele's abrupt departure.

Nike also has had a recent leadership change at the top of the company, with former S.C. Johnson & Son Inc. CEO William Perez officially becoming CEO and president as of Dec. 28, succeeding Nike co-founder Phil Knight, who remains chairman.

Steele joined Nike in 1997 as director of IT for the global finance group, and then led the IT efforts to straighten the kinks in the company's supply chain. While supply-chain problems hurt its business in the late 1990s, including widely publicized criticism of a supply-chain system from i2 Technologies Inc., in the past two to three years, Nike has made improvements that resulted in higher gross margins, analysts say.

The company has faced rising costs of late from implementing a supply-chain system in the Asia-Pacific region, though it has still managed to increase its gross margin over the past six months. Nike garnered $2.9 billion in gross income on $6.7 billion in revenue during the six months end Nov. 30, up from $2.5 billion on $5.8 billion in revenue during the same time in the previous year.

Selling, general, and administrative expenses rose to $2.04 billion in the first six months, up from $1.77 billion in the prior year. Nike in its 10K Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Dec. 22, says costly operations drove up SG&A and partially offset revenue gains, especially in Asia-Pacific region. The filing attributes the increase primarily "to additional demand creation spending (for the Athens Olympics and expansion of market coverage in China), and investments in operating overhead" from "the implementation of new supply-chain systems in the region."

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