Abercrombie & Fitch diversity exec leaving after a decade of change

Dive Brief:

  • Abercrombie & Fitch’s chief diversity officer Todd Corley has left the company after ten years to dedicate more time to a think tank he founded called the TAPO Institute

  • Corley is widely credited for changing the outward diversity of the clothing retailer, as well as its fundamental culture around inclusion and tolerance. He was hired in a newly created position in 2004 as the company was settling three class-action discrimination lawsuits.

  • Amy Zehrer, who has been with the company since 1992 and executive vice president of stores since February 2013, replaces Corley as chief diversity officer.

Dive Insight:

Who knows whether Abercrombie & Fitch bargained for the corporate culture changes that Todd Corley ultimately brought, but under his direction the company has indeed changed immensely. The retailer went from an employee workforce that was 90% white to closer to 50-50 in eight years. 

But Corley’s approach involves more than hiring more outwardly diverse employees; he developed a diversity and inclusion strategy that changed the company’s internal approach on many levels. Although CEO Mike Jeffries continued to have his moments of intolerance that arguably worked against Corley's progress, the company’s culture is fundamentally transformed thanks to Corley’s initiatives.

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