Nike Has A New Board Member: John W. Rogers, CEO And Founder Of Ariel Investments

Written by Ann Brown

John W. Rogers, Jr., founder, Chairman, CEO and Chief Investment Officer of Ariel Investments, LLC has been named to the board of directors for Nike Inc.

The appointment is significant because it follows Nike’s controversial Colin Kaepernick ad campaign, Black Enterprise reported.

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Earlier this year, the billion-dollar athletic apparel company marked the 30th anniversary of its “Just Do It” campaign with an ad that pictures a close-up of Kaepernick with the words “Believe in something.”  “Just Do It” is a trademark of the shoe company and one of the core components of Nike’s brand, New York Times reported.

The former NFL quarterback started the movement of kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice. In essence, the stance cost him his football career. 

Rogers is one of a small number of Black members of corporate boards. On the S&P 500, 187 companies — 37 percent — still do not have any board members who are Black, Black Enterprise reported. That’s down from 197 companies, or 39 percent in 2017. There are 308 African Americans on the boards of 316 companies — 63 percent of the Index.

Rogers expressed concern about the lack of diversity on corporate boards, telling the Chicago Tribune that he feared diversity wasn’t a priority in the Trump era. “It hasn’t been a priority of this administration. I worry we could be going backwards … it’s a real risk,” Rogers said.

Rogers brings a depth of financial expertise to Nike’s Board of Directors, said Mark Parker, chairman, president and CEO of NIKE, Inc. “His insights as a business leader will be invaluable as Nike moves into its next phase of accelerated growth.”

(AP Photo/Richard Drew)


Rogers, 60, founded Ariel Investments in 1983. The company focuses on undervalued small and medium-sized companies. Prior to this, he worked as a stockbroker at William Blair & Co., LLC.

He also serves as a board member of Exelon Corp., McDonald’s Corp., and The New York Times Co., and, he is a director of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

After Barack Obama was elected, Rogers served as co-chairman for the Presidential Inaugural Committee 2009, and more recently, he joined the Barack Obama Foundation’s Board of Directors, Businesswire reported.

Rogers, who earned his AB from Princeton University, was awarded Princeton’s highest honor, the Woodrow Wilson Award in 2008.