Craig Williams: from U.S. Navy to running Nike’s high-flying Jordan brand

Abu Mubarik September 01, 2021
Craig A. Williams. Photo credit: Nike

Craig Williams is the president of Nike’s high-flying Jordan brand. He is credited with supervising the division’s sales jump from 15% to a record $3.6 billion following the hit Michael Jordan ESPN documentary, The Last Dance, and a 50% sales increase in China, according to Forbes.

The documentary series chronicled Jordan’s final season with the Chicago Bulls and his global endorsement phenomenon. Jordan’s endorsement deal with Nike is the richest athlete endorsement deal, with the former NBA star making $1.3 billion.

Williams joined The Jordan Brand from Coca-Cola where he served as Senior Vice President and President of The McDonald’s Division (TMD) Worldwide. At Coca-Cola, he was responsible for leading and growing the company’s business and strategic partnership with McDonald’s in more than 37,000 restaurants in over 100 countries.

Prior to joining Coca-Cola, he spent three years in the eye care industry with CIBA Vision Corp. in global marketing. In addition, Williams also served spent seven years with Kraft Foods Inc., as brand manager and new product development. He also spent five years in the U.S. Navy as a Naval Nuclear Power Officer.

Also, he has been appointed to the board of directors at Capital One Financial Corporation. In his role as President of the Jordan Brand, Williams leads the global vision, strategy, and growth of its multi-billion-dollar portfolio.

The business leader was recently featured on Forbes’ inaugural CEO Next list as among those who stand on the cusp of running America’s most influential and respected companies.

“None of the leaders here hold their company’s top job—yet. But these CxOs and division bosses are digitizing old-line industries, shaping taste and style, and building billion-dollar sustainability programs. One even led the development of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine. And they are prime candidates to soon be taking the CEO spot either at their current company—or somewhere else,” Forbes wrote.

Williams has an MBA from Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Benedict College. He is married with two children, Keisha and Kelse.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: September 1, 2021


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