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Adidas Human Resources Head Steps Down Amid Diversity Criticism

Karen Parkin, head of global human resources for Adidas, resigned last week following criticism from Black employees who said the company has done too little to promote diversity. The Wall Street Journal reported that some Adidas employees had asked the board in June to investigate whether Parkin was taking the right approach to address racial issues within the organization. Parkin had sparked controversy in 2019 when she characterized employee concerns over race at the company as “noise” only discussed in America.

Parkin, a 23-year veteran of the company, released a statement saying, “I have been very privileged to work for such a great company with so many talented and inspiring colleagues and I am very proud of what we have accomplished together. I am deeply committed to our goals of creating a more diverse, inclusive and equitable company. While we have made progress in many areas, there is much more work to be done. However, it has become clear to me that to unify the organization it would be better for me to retire and pave the way for change. Now is the right time for a new HR leader to take over the function, to seize the opportunity before us and drive forward the pace of change to create a more diverse and inclusive adidas that we can all be proud of.”  

Adidas has also joined a growing number of companies in boycotting social-media advertising on Facebook and Instagram indicating, “Racist, discriminatory, and hateful online content have no place in our brand or in society.”