Another diversity lead is departing Nike.
Nike chief diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) officer Jarvis Sam has stepped down, the company confirmed to FN today. Sam has held several roles since joining the athletic giant in 2018, and was elevated to chief DEI officer in June.
Business Insider first revealed the news of Sam’s departure. According to the publication, Nike employees were informed via email.
During his tenure, Sam was attached to some of the company’s most impactful initiatives, most notably the Serena Design Crew apprenticeship program aimed at promoting diversity in design, and the WIN Program that hires retired WNBA players into positions with the company.
“Nike alone can’t solve the world’s challenges around racism, homophobia, heterosexism, etc.,” Sam told FN in April during a walkthrough of the Serena Williams Building at Nike’s world headquarters in Beaverton, Ore. “However, we believe that the voice that we have in sport and the influence that it makes on other similarly situated companies and league and federation partners and broadcast partners will enable us to develop a clear platform and help us navigate this.”
Sam is one of several people to lead Nike’s DEI push — and depart the company — in recent years.
Felicia Mayo served as the company’s chief talent, diversity and culture officer for two years. She exited this summer, and is now EVP of people at financial service-focused technology company Block.
Prior to Mayo, the chief DEI officer role was held by Kellie Leonard, an 18-year Nike Inc. veteran who exited the role after two-plus years in 2020.
In April 2018, Nike Inc. VP of diversity and inclusion Antoine Andrews left the company. The departure of Andrews came during a tumultuous time at Nike, one wrought with issues relating to workplace culture. In March 2020, then-CEO Mark Parker acknowledged the issues in an internal memo, which mentioned “behavior occurring within our organization that do not reflect our core values of inclusivity, respect and empowerment.”