(Bloomberg) -- Nike Inc.’s Kellie Leonard, who became the company’s first chief diversity and inclusion officer two years ago, is stepping down from the role.
Leonard, an 18-year veteran of Nike, is leaving “to pursue other interests,” the sportswear giant said in an emailed statement. “We thank Kellie for her many contributions to the brand and her leadership within the company.”
The Financial Times previously reported on the move, saying Leonard will be replaced by Felicia Mayo -- a change Chief Executive Officer John Donahoe called a “structural shift” focused on providing “equal access to opportunity” for all employees. Mayo, a Black executive who’s a veteran of Silicon Valley, previously served as the head of diversity at Tesla Inc.
When Leonard was named to the job in 2018, Nike 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.
Donahoe said last month that some employees had reported “a disconnect” between Nike’s outward posture on race and their internal experiences in the company.
“When we say that Black Lives Matter, it applies to the world outside of Nike and, importantly, it applies to our black teammates within Nike,” Donahoe said in a memo at the time. “Simply put, we need to hold ourselves to a high standard given the heritage of our company and our brand.”
Nike also turned Juneteenth, a date set aside to celebrate the end of slavery in the U.S., into a paid company holiday.
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