VF Corp. said today that Veronica Wu has decided to step down from the company’s board of directors, effective immediately. According to the company, Wu’s decision to exit was not the result of any disagreement with VF on any matter relating to the firm’s operations, policies or practices.
On Friday, controversial emails from the Silicon Valley investor were leaked and obtained by Axios.
In them, Wu allegedly discredited the Black Lives Matter movement.
In an email dated June 16, 2020, Axios reported that Wu wrote: “I don’t believe in Black Lives Matter. If anything I think they are the true racists trying to stir up things to make this country going to socialism or even communism potentially.”
The leaked email was allegedly in response to the news that Hone Capital — the investment management group where Wu was managing partner at the time — would honor Juneteenth as a company holiday. Wu said she was “not supportive.”
Axios also reported that VF Corp. had received the email exchange earlier this year and found them to be legitimate. FN has reached out to the company for comment.
In a message sent May 30, 2020, to all employees, VF chairman, president and CEO Steve Rendle condemned racism, calling George Floyd’s death “tragic” and “stomach-churning.”
“The virus behind our global shutdown has a formal name: COVID-19. The virus that caused the death of George Floyd and many other people of color also has a formal name. It’s called racism,” Rendle wrote. “Racism is not welcome at VF Corporation. It never has been and never will be. And while we as a company can’t create a vaccine to eradicate racism from our planet, we can do our part to lead with purpose, inspire others with our actions, break down racial and ethnic barriers and be part of the solution.”
The company has been at the forefront of diversity in the shoe industry. In March, VF and Pensole Design Academy partnered on an apprenticeship program, called DiverCity x Design, that aims to empower Black, Indigenous and people of color. It was created both as an investment in the future of the footwear industry and to ensure diversity in thought and experience.
Wu was appointed to the VF board of directors in March 2019. VF is parent company to brands Supreme, Timberland, Vans and The North Face, among others. Now, the size of the VF board will be reduced from 12 members to 11 members until a new director is identified.