Nike’s Legal Chief Retiring After $18 Million in Stock Sales

Nike Inc.’s longtime legal chief Hilary Krane sold off nearly $18.2 million in company stock within the past year, according to securities filings.

Krane is retiring from her roles as general counsel and chief administrative officer, the company said Tuesday. She will be replaced as Nike’s top lawyer as of Feb. 17 by corporate secretary and chief ethics and compliance officer Ann Miller.

Miller has served in a variety of in-house roles at Nike since she joined the Beaverton, Ore.-based athletic apparel maker in 2007. She was previously an associate at Paul Hastings and Sullivan & Cromwell.

Securities filings show that Krane has unloaded more than $31 million in company shares since the beginning of 2020.

Bloomberg News reported last month that Nike’s share price has steadily increased during the coronavirus pandemic despite supply chain woes and production delays affecting some of its factories in Asia. Nike and its multinational corporate peers are now facing new supply chain challenges due to a U.S. law requiring them to ensure that imported goods aren’t the product of forced labor in China.

Krane was not one of Nike’s top five highest-paid executives in fiscal 2021, per the company’s most recent proxy statement. She currently owns more than $22 million in Nike stock, according to Bloomberg data.

Krane didn’t respond to a request for comment about her pending departure. Nor did Nike, when asked who will replace Krane as its chief administrative officer and Miller as the company’s ethics and compliance chief.

John Donahoe, Nike’s president and CEO, said in a statement that Miller “has been a proven Nike leader who has made significant contributions to the company that helped extend our position as the world’s leading sports brand.” He also thanked Krane for playing an “instrumental role” in Nike’s success.

Nike tapped Krane to succeed its former general counsel, James Carter, who retired in 2010 after a decade as the company’s top lawyer. Krane joined the sneaker giant after serving as general counsel for Levi Strauss & Co., a San Francisco-based jeans maker that hired her in 2006.

Krane previously was a partner and assistant general counsel at accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and a litigation associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, where she worked out of the law firm’s offices in San Francisco and Chicago.

New Legal Regime

Miller has been general counsel for sneaker subsidiary Converse and led the company’s North America legal business during her 14 years with the company.

She took the lead for all corporate governance and external reporting matters at Nike in more recent years, including overseeing legal support for supply chain, privacy, digital product, and technology matters, the company said.

Miller and Krane have been at the forefront of internal inquiries at the company, including a 2019 probe of the Nike Oregon Project, a long-distance running and training program that saw its former coach banned from the sport amid allegations of emotional abuse. Nike was hit with a $20 million lawsuit last year by Mary Cain, a former program runner who claims her wellness was harmed by weight shaming.

Court filings in that case show that Nike is being represented by Stoel Rives. The Portland, Ore.-based firm had a role on roughly 4% of Nike’s U.S. federal litigation caseload since 2007, according to Bloomberg Law data. Stoel Rives also worked with Paul Hastings, Miller’s former firm, in advising Nike on a sex discrimination lawsuit filed against the company by a group of former female employees.

During her time at Nike, Krane was an advocate for elevating women to positions of prominence in corporate boardrooms. Diversity has been sensitive issue at Nike, which last year was unsuccessful in blocking a shareholder proposal to get the company to disclose its equity and inclusion efforts.

Nike has made some notable legal additions over the last year, including adding former Reed Smith tax counsel Jeremy Abrams in Washington as a director of controversy and policy.

The company also hired Samuel Aintablian II from the Minnesota Vikings as an assistant general counsel for sports marketing, a business unit led by O’Melveny & Myers alum John Slusher, son of former sports agent Howard Slusher and a longtime adviser to Phil Knight, Nike’s billionaire founder and chairman emeritus.

Slusher is a member of Nike’s executive leadership, which also includes chief human resources officer Monique Matheson, a former employment lawyer at Lane Powell.