ADIDAS has appointed Amanda Rajkumar, an executive with French bank BNP Paribas, as its new head of human resources after employee complaints over racism at the German sportswear company.
Its former HR head, Karen Parkin, stepped down after a group of employees called for an investigation over her handling of racism, which she had described last year as “noise” only discussed in America.
Rajkumar, a 48-year-old British national, who started her career as a research psychologist in 1993, was most recently head of human resources for the Americas for BNP Paribas. She previously worked for JP Morgan for almost a decade.
Rajkumar, whose parents had migrated from the West Indies to the UK, has spoken out about racial issues in the US, and recently initiated a “Challenge Your Bias” campaign at BNP Paribas.
She will take up her new job at Adidas in 2021.
Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted said he hoped Rajkumar would help to strengthen diversity at the company and entrench its position as one of the most popular employers worldwide.
“We want to… make Adidas a truly diverse, inclusive, people driven and equitable company,” he said.
Rajkumar said she was “hugely excited” about the new role. “The talent and creativity within the firm speaks for itself and I cannot wait to immerse myself in the employee base and culture,” she added.
“With the company’s core values aligned to my own, I am thrilled about the opportunity to help shape and define the future of Adidas.”
Protests after the custodial death of George Floyd in the US in May prompted many brands, including Adidas, to pledge action on racial inequality.
The company also admitted it had not given enough credit in the past to the many prominent black athletes and celebrities — like James Harden and Kanye West — as well as black employees and consumers who have helped to make it successful.
Adidas said in August it had seen no impact on sales from the race row, and expected a recovery in the third quarter assuming there were no new major lockdowns as it benefited from more people exercising and dressing down as they work from home.