He effectively replaces V-P of corporate comms Kirk Stewart, who quit Nike in July (PRWeek, 15 July) after eight years.
Powell has been based in the US for around three years and reports to V-P of global brand management Trevor Edwards.
Before relocating to the US, he handled comms for Nike across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He had previously worked for PR firm Edelman as a director in its Brussels office.
Nike, once a target for activists protesting against the use of 'sweatshop' labour, is widely seen as having made strides forward to improve its corporate reputation.
This April the company broke a three-year silence on social reporting by voluntarily disclosing the names and locations of all factories that make its products (PRWeek, 29 April).
Stewart was one of the architects of the global CSR report in which the details were published.
Powell was unavailable for comment as PRWeek went to press.