Nike executive says company needs to step up promotion of women, minorities

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Nike (NKE) is seen in Los Angeles, California, United States, April 12, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

(Reuters) - Nike Inc's NKE.N chief human resources officer, Monique Matheson, said on Wednesday that the company needs to accelerate representation of women and people of color at leadership levels.

Twenty-nine percent of the sportswear company’s vice presidents are women, while the company’s global workforce is split between 52 percent men and 48 percent women, Matheson said in an emailed statement.

To accelerate the process of representation the company will launch targeted training programs, invest in a diversity sourcing team as well as “Unconscious Bias training” for all managers, Matheson said.

Nike was conducting a review in March of its human-resources systems and practices for elevating internal complaints. Nike brand president Trevor Edwards resigned last month, while the company announced probes into workplace complaints.

Earlier on Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal, citing an internal memo, reported that Matheson told employees the company “has failed to gain traction” in hiring and promoting women and minorities, weeks after complaints of inappropriate workplace behavior led to a leadership change.

Reporting by Bhanu Pratap in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler