VF Corp. has taken a significant step in its diversity and inclusion journey.
The Denver-based company, parent to Vans, Timberland and The North Face, announced today that it has appointed Lauren Guthrie to the position of VP of global inclusion & diversity. Guthrie, VF said, will be responsible for leading its global inclusion and diversity efforts and directing, developing and operationalizing the company’s strategy with a focus on transformational change.
Anita Graham, VF’s VP and chief human resources officer, said the organization has accelerated its focus on D&I in recent years, “both inside and outside our company” and is committed to “maintaining the strong momentum we’ve created.”
“Lauren is a collaborative, proven leader who has spearheaded some of our most thoughtful and powerful I&D programs aimed at racial equity, social justice and fostering a more inclusive environment for all,” Graham added. “She is the ideal person to lead VF and our family of brands into the next phase of this important work.”
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Guthrie’s appointment comes at a pivotal time for footwear companies as well as organizations across the full range of global industries. Amid heightened national conversation around racial justice in the United States, reinvigorated by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May, companies have been amplifying their diversity efforts and promoting more definitive messages around race in America and movements such as Black Lives Matter.
Just last month, St. Louis-based Caleres, parent to Famous Footwear, Sam Edelman, Naturalizer and other footwear brands, tapped Amy Hunter for the post, to become its first-ever VP of diversity, equity and inclusion. Macy’s Inc. named its first chief diversity officer, Shawn Outler, in 2018. In July 2020, Nike Inc. hired Felicia Mayo as its chief talent, diversity and culture officer.
VF’s new diversity leader, Guthrie, previously served as the company’s VP of the Council to Advance Racial Equity (CARE) and Inclusion & Diversity for the Americas Region. She was selected by VF leadership to “develop and activate” the company’s CARE program to expand VF’s external racial equity initiatives while also creating more opportunities to support the Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) workforce throughout VF and its brands, according to the firm. Guthrie also helped to establish a network of employee resource groups across VF that focus on addressing the needs of underrepresented employees.
Prior to her involvement in VF’s inclusion and diversity efforts, Guthrie was VP of regional merchandising, Americas, at The North Face. Before joining VF, Guthrie held merchandising and general management roles with Abercrombie & Fitch, Nike, Levi’s and Old Navy.