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Mark Parker was born in Poughkeepsie, New York and earned his bachelor's degree in Political Science Penn State University in 1977. He is married to Kathy Parker and has three children, Jennifer, Megan, and Matthew. He ran on the Penn State track team.
He joined Nike in 1979 as a footwear designer based in its R&D facility in Exeter, New Hampshire. He became Division Vice President in charge of development in 1987, Corporate Vice President in 1989, General Manager in 1993, and Vice President of Global Footwear in 1998. Prior to becoming CEO, he served as co-president (with Charlie Denson) of the Nike brand beginning March 2001. Parker's salary for 2008 was £7.4 million. He still participates in shoe design, most notably on the Nike HTM project, creating limited edition footwear alongside Nike designer Tinker Hatfield and creative consultant Hiroshi Fujiwara. He has committed to ensuring that Nike remain environmentally conscious. After 10 years of work, Parker and his team launched the first "Green Shoe" that adheres to the principles of sustainability. He is also responsible for other brands in Nike's portfolio, including Converse Inc., Hurley International, and Umbro.
While CEO of Nike in 2013, Mark G. Parker earned a total compensation of $15,425,608, which included a base salary of $1,609,615, a cash bonus of $594,190, stocks granted of $3,500,087, options granted of $4,199,250, and non-equity incentive plan compensation listed at $5,522,466.
He is an avid arts supporter with an extensive ongoing collection of modern, low brow and underground contemporary art, along with many other one-of-a-kind collectibles. In June 7, 2012 pop culture website So Bad So Good showcased 'The Unreal Artwork Inside The Office Of NIKE CEO Mark Parker'. Notable artists from Parker's collection include Andy Warhol, Adonna Khare, Mark Ryden, Kris Kuksi, Todd Schorr, Tim Biskup, Eric White, Sas Christian, Sebastian Kruger, Charles Krafft, Scott Musgrove, Michael Leavitt, Lipson Robotics and Randy Regier. Other notable items include rare movie ephemera such as original props and models from "Mars Attacks!" (1996), "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951), "Back to the Future" (1989) and "Batman" (1989).