Nike and Reebok Case
Was the rejuvenation of Nike and the decline of Reebok due mostly to the talents
of a Phil Knight versus a Paul Fireman? Does the success of an enterprise
depend almost entirely on the ability of its leader? Such questions have long
baffl ed experts.
Several aspects of this issue are worth noting. The incompetent is usually
clearly evident and identifi able. The great business leader may also be, but
perhaps he or she simply lucked out. In most situations, competing executives
are reasonably similar in competence. They have vision, the support of their
organizations, and reasonable judgment and prudence. What then makes the
difference? A good assessment of opportunities, an advertising slogan that really
hits, a hunch of competitor vulnerability? Yes. But how much is due just to a
fortuitous call, a gamble that paid off?We know that Phil Knight had a history of great successes. After all, he beat
Adidas, and brought Nike from nowhere to the premier athletic apparel fi rm in
the world. Add to this his handling of a great challenge by moving Nike, for a
second time, into the heady air of market leader. Was his ability as a top executive
so much greater than that of Fireman? Would his absence have destroyed
the promise of Nike?
Perhaps the basic question is: Can one person make a difference? Does that

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Fortuitous Call And Second Time. (April 2, 2021). Retrieved from