Bloomberg Billionaires Index

View profiles for each of the world’s 500 richest people, see the biggest movers, and compare fortunes or track returns.

# 26 Phil Knight $33.2B

Random fact: Bought Nike's Swoosh logo in 1971 for $35 from a design student.

Overview

Knight is the founder and largest shareholder of Nike, the world's biggest maker of athletic shoes and sports apparel. The Beaverton, Oregon-based company operates more than 1,100 stores and had revenue of $39 billion in the year to May 2019. The business’s range of brands includes Converse, Cole Haan and Jordan.

As of :
Last change +$16.5M ( +0.1%)
YTD change +$4.20B ( +14.5%)
Industry Consumer
Biggest asset NKE US Equity
Citizenship United States
Age 81
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Phil Knight's net worth of $33.2B can buy ...

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Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Cash
Private asset
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Confidence rating:

Knight is the founder and largest shareholder of Nike, the world's biggest maker of athletic shoes and sports apparel with more than 1,100 stores worldwide, according to its 2019 annual report. Knight controls 19% of the company, according to Bloomberg's analysis of regulatory filings.

Knight and his family own 236 million shares through holding company Swoosh, according to an October 2019 filing. These shares are held in the name of son Travis Knight. Phil Knight owns a further 41 million shares in his own name, according to an October 2019 filing. Knight's share count was reduced by 20 million shares on Nov. 1, 2019, to avoid the double counting of different classes of shares. The change resulted in a $2 billion fall in his net worth on this date.

Shares held by Swoosh are credited to Philip Knight in Bloomberg's analysis to reflect his status as founder and family patriarch, and he's still deemed to be the owner for tax purposes, according to Nike spokesman Greg Rossiter. Nike's Class A shares don't trade and are convertible to B shares on a one-to-one basis. Shares held by Knight's charitable foundation are excluded.

He's collected more than $6.5 billion from dividends and the sale of Nike stock, based on an analysis of Bloomberg data, as of October 2019. The value of his cash investments is based on these proceeds, as well as taxes, market performance and charitable donations, which include $400 million to Stanford University in February 2016.

Rossiter declined to comment on the calculation of Knight's net worth.

Biography

Birthdate: 2/24/1938
Family: Married, 2 children
Education: Stanford University, University of Oregon

Born in Portland, Oregon, to a lawyer-turned-newspaper publisher, Knight enrolled at the University of Oregon in 1955, where he was a member of the college track team. After graduating with a master's of business administration from Stanford Business School, Knight traveled around the world for a year.

He created athletic footwear distributor Blue Ribbon Sports with his former college track coach, Bill Bowerman, in 1964 and continued to work as an assistant professor at Portland State University and as an accountant. He started selling sneakers at weekend track meets from the back of his green Plymouth Valiant and dedicated himself full time to his shoe business in 1968.

The billionaire changed the company's name to Nike in 1972. He sold shares in a public offering eight years later. Nike became the most popular sports apparel brand in the world over the next couple of decades by capitalizing on the influence top athletes began to have on popular culture. The company signed star athletes -- Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter, Tiger Woods -- and helped create brands around each of them to market its fashionable shoes and other sportswear. Knight stepped down as Nike's chief executive officer in 2004 and as chairman in 2016.

He has donated $500 million for cancer research to the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, $400 million to Stanford University for graduate scholarships and $500 million to the University of Oregon in Eugene for a science research center.

Knight is married, and his second son Travis is a Nike board member. His eldest son Matthew died in 2004. He also has a daughter, Christina.

Milestones
  • 1938 Born in Portland to William and Lola Knight.
  • 1964 Starts Blue Ribbon Sports with his former college track coach.
  • 1971 Buys swoosh logo for $35 from design student Carolyn Davidson.
  • 1972 Blue Ribbon Sports is renamed Nike.
  • 1980 Nike sells shares in an initial public offering.
  • 1984 Signs Michael Jordan to an endorsement contract.
  • 1988 "Just do it" slogan is written by ad agency Wieden & Kennedy.
  • 2016 Steps down as chairman of Nike.