The sportswear industry vet who helped to lead a decade of growth at Nike, Inc. will now be the first woman to lead Michael Jordan’s global company. Here’s what you need to know about Sarah Mensah.
Sarah Mensah is the new President of Jordan Brand.
In 2021, the University of Oregon graduate made history by becoming the first Black woman to lead Nike’s North America business as both Vice President and GM of the $166 billion brand’s largest market. Today, she is appointed as the first female to serve as President of Michael Jordan’s Jumpman empire which turns out an estimated $5 billion in annual revenue.
The move marks not just a win for women in the sports industry but a spirited game of musical chairs within Nike, Inc. In addition to Mensah taking the reins at Jordan Brand, former JB President Craig Williams will be moving to President of Geographies & Marketplace at Nike, Inc.
It’s worth noting that Jordan Brand has long been an example of elevating people of color and exemplifying Black leadership. Aside from its namesake icon, Jordan Brand has been piloted by the likes of Larry Miller, Howard White, Keith Houlemard, Gentry Humphrey, and Williams in VP or President titles previously. Mensah takes on the role in the midst of the start of the WNBA season and race toward the NBA Finals.
Previous to her work in footwear, she served as VP and COO of the Portland Trailblazers from 2009 to 2012, an era in which the team’s revenue grew 105%.
Since studying in Eugene, ascending in Portland, and moving to Beaverton, Mensah has held titles within Nike, Inc. including Senior Director of Strategic Planning, paving a 10-year roadmap for Jordan Brand that currently sees signature stars in ascending spaces and a footprint that covers everything from college sports to Italian shopping.
As Footwear News notes, Mensah’s VP promotion at Nike took place amidst a supply chain conundrum due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Exemplifying courage under fire, she cites Nike and specifically her time at Jordan Brand as a space in which she was seen, heard, and empowered.
“Working in the Jordan Brand, I had the opportunity to sit at the table with Michael Jordan himself,” Mensah told Footwear News in 2021. “I was able to learn and draft off of his example. I understood that all success requires us to stretch and push beyond our comfort zones. The intensity and inspiration of being challenged to achieve something more by the GOAT himself stays with me to this day.”
In her new appointment, Mensah will be doing more than just sitting at the table with MJ — she’ll be calling the plays herself.
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