Nike's Head of Diversity and Inclusion Leaves Amid Executive Scandal
As Nike Inc. continues to fail in hiring and retaining women at leadership levels and grapples with the alleged sexist behavior of executives, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Antoine Andrews has left the company.
A spokeswoman for Nike confirmed Monday that Andrews’ exit is the latest in a sequence of executive departures at the world’s largest footwear maker. The spokeswoman offered no further details.
Andrews joined Nike in 2015. Prior to his position, he was the global diversity and inclusion director at cyber-security firm Symantec Corp. for more than a year, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Last month, Trevor Edwards, the president of Nike’s namesake brand, immediately left his position and will retire from the company in August.
Edwards and Jayme Martin, a vice president, allegedly protected subordinates who “bullied” women in other Nike departments, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Martin made his exit shortly after Edwards, who was considered a potential successor to CEO and Chairman Mark Parker.
“We became aware of some behavioral issues that are inconsistent with Nike’s values of inclusivity, respect and empowerment,” Parker said during an earnings call with analysts on March 22, according to Bloomberg. “I’m committed to ensure that we have an environment where every Nike employee can have a positive experience and reach their full potential.”
Nike declined to directly link the behavior to either executive.
An environment conducive of sexist behavior could be the result of Nike failing to accelerate the representation of women and people of color at leadership levels.
Earlier this month, Nike’s Chief Human Resources Officer Monique Matheson disclosed in a memo to employees that the company was doing a poor job in that aspect.
Nike’s executive leadership team is predominantly white and male. Parker, CEO since 2006, apparently has not made diversity in leadership a priority. It was recently announced he would stay in his job beyond 2020, despite the company’s struggle with declining sales in North America.
“Twenty-nine percent of Nike vice presidents are women, and in the U.S. 16 percent are people of color,” according to CNBC. “Nike only tracks race and ethnicity information in the U.S.”
In comparison, at DiversityInc Top 10 companies the percentage of women in level four management (three reports removed from the CEO) is 44.8 percent, and for people of color it is approximately 28 percent (6.7 percent Black, 7.3 percent Latino, 14.7 percent Asian). These companies excel in hiring, retaining and promoting women and minorities.
Top executives at Nike, which has never participated in DiversityInc’s Top 50 process, held a meeting with hundreds of employees on March 20 at its headquarters as part of an initiative to encourage men to be better allies for their female colleagues.