CounterKicks caught an interesting slice of unreported news made by Nike Chairman and co-founder Phil Knight at Nike, Inc. most recent annual shareholders meeting on September 20th, 2010. The current price tag of the original Nike Swoosh logo designed by Carolyn Davidson? $1 million dollars. Continue reading for the full story behind the $1 million dollar Nike Swoosh logo.
During a question and answer session at Nike, Inc. annual shareholders meeting last month, Phil Knight divulged what to date had been previously undisclosed information: the exact amount of Nike stock shares given to Carolyn Davidson for creating the original Swoosh logo.
From the Nike annual shareholders meeting transcript on Sept. 20th, 2010:
Question: “I am a new shareholder, what does the swoosh mean and where did it originate?”
Phil Knight: I remember that. That was 38 years ago, and we were coming out with a NIKE line and we had to have a logo.
And we hired a graphic art student at Portland State University, and told her to come up with something that connoted speed, and we gave her $75.00 for what she came up with. When we went public in 1980, we called her back up and gave her 500 shares of stock, which she has never sold, and is worth close to $1 million this day.
We learn two things from this exchange.
First, a somewhat minor historical discrepancy worth noting. Knight states the original fee for the Swoosh logo at $75 where all previous accounts of the story, including in the book “Swoosh: The Story of Nike and the Men Who Played There” list Carolyn Davidson’s price for the logo work at $35.
Second, and more importantly, after Nike went public on the New York Stock Exchange, Knight gave Davidson 500 shares of NKE stock which she has yet to sell, amounting to an equity stake of around $1 million dollars today. Through various stock splits over the past two decades, we can roughly assume Davidson’s original 500 shares have grown to somewhere in the neighborhood of 12,000 and 15,000 shares based on NKE trading prices when Phil Knight made the original disclosure on Sept. 20th through today. Not to mention, Nike’s stock currently yields a $0.27 cent dividend per share, yielding Davidson a cool extra few thousand dollars in cash each quarter payout she keeps her total share amount.
Not a bad take for a logo originally invoiced underneath $100. Now whether we can reconcile Davidson’s $35 or $75 logo fee is for another story…