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NBA Executive Returns to Nike to Lead Jordan Brand

--Larry Miller to serve as president of Jordan brand, a post he previously held for seven years --Miller most recently served as president of the Portland Trail Blazers --Shift comes as Nike prepares to enjoy the exposure of a full NBA season after a lockout disrupted play last season By John Kell Nike Inc. (NKE) said basketball executive Larry Miller is returning to the athletic-goods giant's ranks as president of the iconic Jordan brand, a post he previously held for roughly seven years. Mr. Miller, 61 years old, had previously served in that role between 1999 to 2006, and also worked as an executive that managed operations for Jordan, the namesake basketball line and Converse. Mr. Miller most recently served as president of the Portland Trail Blazers. Nike said Mr. Miller succeeds Keith Houlemard, who will now lead the company's future worldwide Olympic efforts as general manager. The shift at the top of the Jordan brand comes as Nike prepares to enjoy the exposure of a full National Basketball Association season, after a lockout last season shortened the regular season to 66 games, from the normal 82. Though Michael Jordan hasn't played in the league for years, his branded shoes remain extremely popular among consumers. Limited releases of retro Jordan shoes has led to long lines and scuffles outside major retail chains. Analysts often tout basketball as a fashion-driven category. Nike late last month reported fiscal fourth-quarter results that missed Wall Street's expectations as weaker gross margins and higher marketing costs tied to product launches and two key global sporting events more than offset solid revenue growth across all global markets. Nike's shares were down 0.9% to $90.51 in recent trading. -Write to John Kell at john.kell@dowjones.com

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