Former Aflac marketing officer Shannon Watkins has been named the chief marketing officer for the Jordan Brand.
Yahoo News reports the move to the Jordan Brand, a subsidiary of Nike, makes Watkins one of the most powerful Black women in sports marketing. Watkins was instrumental in Aflac’s partnership with ESPN’s College Gameday, which also renewed its focus on HBCU schools.
Jordan Brand is one of the most iconic logos and brands in sports. Michael Jordan, the six-time NBA champion, retired in 2003 but his shoes are still the most popular and sought-after basketball shoes today. Jordan brand sneakers still push the sneakerhead culture today despite the fact many in the industry may not have been able to walk when Jordan took his last shot.
Watkins will replace Sean Tresvant, who has moved on to Taco Bell, and will report to CEO Craig Williams. She starts May 16.
“We need innovative leadership, someone who can lead us into the future by pushing creativity, championing diversity, and bringing our purpose to life,” Williams said. “Shannon’s experience across multiple industries and business sectors will do just that, helping to lead our marketing efforts into the future.”
The Jordan brand has been focusing on the Black community since the death of George Floyd in 2020, when the brand made a 10-year, $100 million commitment to social justice organizations and racial equity.
The brand has also enjoyed a post-pandemic resurgence as its revenue grew to $4.7 billion last year, a 30 percent increase. The Jordan brand has also signed some of the most notable athletes today, including NBA star Luka Dončić, New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson, and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.
The brand has also gotten into NASCAR by recently taking ownership of 23XI Racing, pegging Bubba Wallace and Kurt Busch as drivers.