Nike’s Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Jarvis Sam is leaving the company after about six months in the role. Sam has spent close to five years at Nike, according to LinkedIn. Nike did not immediately respond to requests for comment on when exactly Sam will depart or if the company has identified a replacement.
The position has seen a fair amount of turnover in recent years. Sam’s predecessor Felicia Mayo, Nike’s chief talent, diversity and culture officer, left Nike over the summer after two years. Mayo replaced Kellie Leonard in 2020, marking a shift in Nike's diversity approach. The retailer tied diversity, talent and culture together in Mayo’s role in an effort to emphasize those elements from the start of the hiring process.
Nike has often been a champion of diversity in its marketing campaigns, but the retailer has faced challenges internally. In 2018, the company acknowledged that it needed to “accelerate representation” of women and people of color at the leadership level, which came around the same time as a mass exodus of Nike executives over improper conduct and a toxic work environment. A class action lawsuit filed in 2018 detailed a slew of sexual harassment incidents at Nike, and alleged gender discrimination, arguing that women were paid less than men and received fewer advancement opportunities.