Racism debate just "noise": statement costs Adidas manager the post

After accusations against the white-dominated management, Adidas strives for a better image and more diversity. Relative statements about racism from last year now force HR manager Karen Parkin to resign. It paves the way for "change".

Adidas HR chief Karen Parkin takes hats after criticizing her handling of racism at the world's second largest sporting goods manufacturer. The supervisory board had accepted her resignation as labor director at the end of the month, the company said.

A group of employees recently complained about the 55-year-old, according to a Wall Street Journal report. She had dismissed racism as "noise" only debated in America at an internal event by Reebok, the US subsidiary, and said she didn't think Adidas had a racism problem.

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An apology from Parkin was described by the employee representatives as insufficient and demanded an investigation. "In order to unite the company, it is better if I withdraw and prepare the way for a change," the head of HR now justified her resignation.

The death of African-American George Floyd from police violence had sparked the debate over discrimination against black people in the United States and beyond. Parkins post takes over interim CEO Kasper Rorsted. Chairman of the supervisory board Igor Landau said that Adidas now needs an "accelerated change". Parkin has worked for Adidas for 23 years. She has been responsible for managing 60,000 Adidas employees worldwide for five and a half years. In 2017 she rose to the board and was the only woman there.

The Dax group had already come under pressure in the course of the "Black Lives Matter" movement. As the "Handelsblatt" reported, employees at the US headquarters have asked the male and white dominated management to position themselves. In response, the company announced that 30 percent of new hires in the US must be black and Latino in the future.