Jordan Brand Names Aflac Exec Shannon Watkins as CMO

Nike’s Jordan Brand has appointed Shannon Watkins as its new chief marketing officer.

The announcement comes as the result of a lengthy search process to replace the brand’s former CMO, Sean Tresvant, who left his role to serve as the chief brand officer at in December 2021.

Watkins comes to Nike after a four-year stint at insurance provider Aflac, where she most recently served as the company’s chief brand and marketing officer. Before Aflac, where she also served as a VP and SVP, she spent over eight years at the Coca-Cola company.

During her time at Aflac, Watkins helped drive the company’s partnership with ESPN’s “College GameDay” in 2021 with a focus on historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). She was named one of AdWeek’s Most Powerful Women in Sports for 2021.

“Blessed and grateful to join the amazing Jordan Brand Family!,” Watkins said in a LinkedIn post sharing the news of her appointment.

Nike did not immediately return FN’s request for comment.

The news marks the latest high-profile appointment for Nike in recent weeks. On Monday, FN reported that Nike had tapped Maggie Gauger as its new global VP of direct acceleration to oversee leading Nike’s DTC and digital Nike tapped Twitter’s former chief designer officer, Dantley Davis, as its VP of digital design to help grow its digital capabilities.

According to a Sportico report, Watkins will report to Jordan brand president Craig Williams, who is also Coca-Cola veteran.

“We need innovative leadership, someone who can lead us into the future by pushing creativity, championing diversity, and bringing our purpose to life,” Williams told Sportico. “Shannon’s experience across multiple industries and business sectors will do just that, helping to lead our marketing efforts into the future.”

Williams, who assumed the president role in January 2019, has made equity and inclusion at the brand a top priority. This includes investing more in Jordan’s women’s division and finding ways to support the Black community.

Jordan Brand’s sales for fiscal 2021 hit a new record of $4.7 billion, up from $3.6 billion in the previous fiscal year.

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