The FINANCIAL — Nike’s first-ever chief diversity and inclusion officer, as well as 18-year veteran of Nike Kellie Leonard has stepped down. Felicia Mayo, who joined Nike last year will replace Leonard. In 2018, When Leonard was appointed as Nike’s chief diversity officer, the company was working to change its male-dominated culture after complaints of bullying and sexist behavior by executives. Also, Nike announced a series of senior leadership changes last week supporting the company’s Consumer Direct Acceleration.
After only two years on the job, Nike’s first-ever chief diversity and inclusion officer Kellie Leonard has decided to leave. Leonard played “a significant role in communications at Nike both as VP for North America and as the VP for Global Corporate and Employee Communications” as well the diversity role stated a Nike spokesperson, “We thank Kellie for her many contributions to the brand and her leadership within the company,” FOX Business reported.
Felicia Mayo, who worked at Tesla Inc., Juniper Networks Inc. and Oracle Corp. before joining Nike last year, will take the title of chief talent, diversity and culture officer, the company said Monday in an emailed statement. Chief Executive Officer John Donahoe has said the company aspires to be “a leader in building a diverse, inclusive team and culture.” Though Nike is known for sponsoring Black athletes and appealing to Black consumers, it has fallen short of its ideals internally, he said in a memo to employees last month, Al Jazeera wrote.
Nike, Inc. announced a series of senior leadership changes last week supporting the company’s Consumer Direct Acceleration (CDA). The CDA, announced in June 2020, is a new digitally empowered phase of NIKE’s strategy to unlock long-term growth and profitability. The CDA will create a more premium, consistent and seamless consumer experience across NIKE’s owned and strategic partner ecosystem, align around a new simpler consumer construct and also unify investments in an end-to-end technology foundation to accelerate digital transformation.
The leadership changes, combined with a strategic alignment of NIKE’s operating model against the CDA, will create even greater focus and agility that will be enabled by a nimbler, flatter organization in service of consumers.
“We are announcing changes today to transform NIKE faster, accelerate against our biggest growth opportunities and extend our leadership position,” said John Donahoe, President & CEO, NIKE, Inc. He also said, that now is the right time to build on NIKE’s strengths and elevate a group of experienced, talented leaders who can help drive the next phase of Nike’s growth.
Leonard, an 18-year veteran of Nike, is leaving “to pursue other interests,” the company said. “We thank Kellie for her many contributions to the brand and her leadership.” When she was named to the job in 2018, becoming Nike’s first chief diversity officer, the company was working to change its male-dominated culture after complaints of bullying and sexist behavior by executives. In recent months, addressing racial injustice has become a growing priority, Bloomberg wrote.
Nike has taken steps to improve pay equity and diversity among its staff, particularly since a group of women complained of a boys-club culture at the company in spring 2018 — something which led to widespread salary changes, the exit of several executives and the creation of the diversity role that Ms Leonard stepped into. The proportion of non-white vice-presidents has risen from 16 per cent in May 2017 to 21 per cent as of December 2019, according to a spokesman, according to The Financial Times.
In June of 2020, Nike reported financial results for its fiscal 2020 fourth quarter and full year ended May 31, 2020.
Fourth quarter reported revenues were $6.3 billion, declining from prior year as the majority of NIKE-owned and partner stores in North America, EMEA and APLA were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. NIKE digital sales increased 75 percent in the fourth quarter, or 79 percent on a currency- neutral basis, with strong double-digit increases across all geographies and was approximately 30 percent of total revenue.
Fourth quarter results were significantly impacted by physical store closures across North America, EMEA and APLA, where 90 percent of NIKE-owned stores were closed for roughly eight weeks in the quarter to protect the health and safety of teammates and consumers and help slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.