adidas Executive Board member responsible for Global Human Resources, Karen Parkin, has resigned after employees at the company called for her resignation amid claims of racial discrimination. Parkin had been with adidas for 23 years, beginning as Sales Director for adidas UK in 1997.
“On behalf of the Supervisory Board, I would like to thank Karen for the many contributions that she has made over the course of her career with us. She has served adidas with leadership and dedication for more than 23 years and always acted in the best interests of our company and our people," said Igor Landau, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of adidas AG. "Her decision to leave the company reflects that commitment and her belief that a new HR leader will best drive forward the pace of change that adidas needs at this time. Therefore, it is with respect for her decision that we accept her resignation.”
Parkin led adidas' Global Human Resources for the past five-and-a-half years and was appointed to the Executive Board in 2017. adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted will be taking on her Global Human Resources role until a successor is appointed.
“I have been very privileged to work for such a great company with so many talented and inspiring colleagues and I am very proud of what we have accomplished together. I am deeply committed to our goals of creating a more diverse, inclusive and equitable company," Parkin said. "While we have made progress in many areas, there is much more work to be done. However, 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. Now is the right time for a new HR leader to take over the function, to seize the opportunity before us and drive forward the pace of change to create a more diverse and inclusive adidas that we can all be proud of.”
Parkin's decision to resign comes as adidas employees formed a protest against internal racism earlier this month. Since then, the sportswear brand has vowed to hire more Black employees and pledged $120 million to Black communities, among other initiatives.
"adidas and Reebok have always been and will always be against discrimination in all forms and we stand united against racism," the company said in a statement.