Tim Cook Becomes Nike’s Lead Independent Director

June 30, 2016, 9:57 PM UTC
Key Speakers At The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC)
Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple Inc., gestures after speaking during the Apple World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Monday, June 13, 2016. Apple Inc.'s mobile-payment service Apple Pay will now work on websites, a long-awaited feature that will pit the company directly against companies such as PayPal Holdings Inc. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by David Paul Morris — Bloomberg via Getty Images

Nike said Apple CEO Tim Cook has become the lead independent director on the athletic gear maker’s board, while simultaneously announcing co-founder Phil Knight has officially retired from the board under a transition plan that was unveiled a year ago.

On Thursday, the world’s largest maker of athletic gear said Knight retired as chairman and would serve as chairman emeritus, a position that gives him a standing invitation to attend Nike (NKE) board meetings as an observer and add his insight. CEO Mark Parker, Fortune‘s Businessperson of Year, officially adds the position of chairman to his title.

That transition plan was outlined exactly one year ago, when Knight said he wanted to stay involved with Nike after stepping down from the board in a year’s time. He had also made it clear he wanted Parker to succeed him as chairman.

Cook, meanwhile, is already a long-serving member of the board. He was named director in 2005 and is chair of the board’s compensation committee.

The news comes two days after Nike reported fiscal fourth-quarter results on Tuesday that disappointed investors. Though sales increased 6%, growth for the quarter wasn’t as strong as expected and Nike’s future orders—which are an important gauge of the brand’s demand over the next several months—weren’t as strong as expected. Concerns were raised about competition brought on by Adidas, Under Armour (UA) and others pressuring Nike’s dominant position in the space.

“Phil’s impact on Nike is immeasurable,” Parker said in a statement. “His entrepreneurial drive is and always will be part of our DNA. Along with Nike’s exceptional management team, I am committed to leading our next era of innovation and growth as we serve and inspire athletes throughout the world.”

In addition to being CEO of Apple (AAPL) and a member of Nike’s board, Cook is also a board member of the National Football Foundation and the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization, which he joined in April.

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