Adidas named a new HR chief on Wednesday. Amanda Rajkumar will assume the role which has been vacant since the company's former HR chief, Karen Parkin, stepped down at the end of June.
Parkin's departure came after Adidas employees reportedly asked the company to investigate her approach to solving racial problems in the workplace, according to the Wall Street Journal, and a few weeks after employees joined a coalition to demand change for Black employees at the company.
Rajkumar will start the role at the beginning of 2021, according to a company press release. She has over 24 years of experience in HR, including at BNP Paribas and JPMorgan.
Adidas has faced employee criticism around the treatment of people of color at the company for years, with employees alleging the company does not treat employees of color fairly and profits off of partnerships with Black celebrities while failing to support Black employees within its ranks.
This summer, amid widespread protests about racial injustice in the U.S., Adidas was held to account by employees who demanded change at the company. In concert with a "coalition of Black leaders," Adidas created a list of actions it would take to combat inequality, including increasing the number of Black employees at the company.
Just a few weeks after that, Parkin stepped down. Adidas employees had previously told the Wall Street Journal that Parkin said racism was "noise" that was only discussed in the U.S. at an all-employee meeting in 2019. In a press release on her departure, Parkin said it "has become clear to me that to unify the organization it would be better for me to retire and pave the way for change."
Rajkumar will now be in charge of leading that change. Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Thomas Rabe, praised Rajkumar's expertise in HR and listed her "profound understanding of people care and inclusion" as an asset to the company.
In a statement on her appointment, CEO Kasper Rorsted expressed confidence in Rajkumar's ability to do so, and said diversity and inclusion is important to Adidas.
"Adidas is one of the most popular employers worldwide and diversity characterizes adidas like few other companies," Rorsted said. "We not only want to maintain this position, we want to strengthen it and make adidas a truly diverse, inclusive, people driven and equitable company."