Nike Inc. said it is reviewing inappropriate behavior in the sportswear giant, as one of its top executives leaves office, eliminating a one-time CEO candidate from its ranks.
"There was inconsistent conduct with the Nike principles and we are taking appropriate action," spokesman Greg Rossiter said by telephone.
Trevor Edwards, who ran the company's namesake brand, leaves the position and will retire from Nike in August. There were no direct accusations against him, Rossiter said.
In announcing his departure, Nike said that current CEO Mark Parker will remain in the post beyond 2020, delaying a possible succession contest .  In an internal note alerting employees to Edwards' departure, Parker cited reports of "behaviors that occur within our organization that do not reflect our core values of inclusion, respect and empowerment," the Wall Street Journal reported. The note did not describe the complaints or link them to Edwards, the Journal reported. "We have heard from strong and courageous employees," Parker said.
Parker will turn 65 in 2020 and has held the position of CEO for more than a decade. That generated speculation that a change of guard was planned for that year.
Edwards was one of the few executives in line to potentially gain access to the senior position. The others include Eric Sprunk, director of operations, and Michael Spillane, who oversees design, products and marketing. Another executive, Elliott Hill, was elevated to the role of overseeing the consumer and market division as part of Thursday's announcement.
Edwards, one of the most high-profile African-American executives in the industry, will remain an adviser to Parker during the transition. The company based in Beaverton, Oregon, did not immediately respond to a request to speak with Edwards.
"I pledge to remain in my position as president, president and CEO beyond 2020," Parker said in a statement. "Trevor has decided to retire."
While Nike could look for its next CEO, that scenario is not likely. The company took that step once, when it named William Perez as CEO in 2004 to replace co-founder Phil Knight. Perez lasted less than two years before Knight asked him to resign.
The company then named Parker, a Nike Lifer, as its replacement.