Adidas’ HR manager stepped down after employee criticism of ethnic imbalances within the company


Karen Parkin, Adidas’ global human resources manager, stepped down on Tuesday June 30 following criticism from employees of the multinational about ethnic imbalances within the company. Parkin’s resignation comes after a group of black and Hispanic Adidas employees asked for an internal investigation into her and her strategy to address racial issues in the workplace.

In mid-June the Wall Street Journal he had recounted the employee protests, but Parkin had replied that it was just “noise”, things that only made North America argue while they were a non-existent problem at locations in Europe and worldwide. So he dismissed the matter saying there was no reason to deal with it. The employee protests had particularly focused on the contradiction between Adidas’ public image and the reality of the different professional treatment within its offices and had accused the multinational of hypocrisy.

Employee complaints had not started to have any effect until after the protests that arose following the death of George Floyd, during which Adidas, like many other companies, had published content on their social media in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. In early June, employee Julia Bond wrote a letter to the company in which she accused her of accepting racism in the workplace, arguing that “barring the word racism does not deny reality.”

Following criticism, Adidas said it would invest $ 120 million (nearly € 107 million) in the United States by 2025 in initiatives focused on racially condemned injustice and support for black communities. Adidas, which employs approximately 59,000 people worldwide, also promised that at least 30 percent of the company’s new positions would be African American or Hispanic. Now CEO Kasper Rorsted will provisionally assume responsibility for human resources until the appointment of a successor.

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