Mark Parker’s name has been in headlines a lot lately, and not for the reasons he'd like. As Nike’s CEO, he’s copped the brunt of backlash after news broke of the company's discrimination against women and minorities. Parker apologised to his employees recently, and the New York Times have flexed their journalistic chops by obtaining a full recording of his 30-minute speech.
A transcription isn’t available; however, you can read excerpts of NYT's below.
Acknowledging that he and other top leaders at Nike had missed signs of discontent among some employees, Mr. Parker apologised to the workers gathered at the Tiger Woods Conference Center on Nike’s Beaverton, Ore., campus, as well as others watching by video hookup. He added that the company would make changes to compensation and training programs. 'I apologise to the people on our team who were excluded, and I apologise if some of those same people felt they had no one to turn to,' Mr. Parker said. 'I want everyone at Nike to know their voices do matter and your bravery is making us better.'
Noting that the company has undertaken a major strategic transformation as it shifts to sell more of its goods directly to consumers through its own stores and website, Mr. Parker acknowledged, nonetheless, that he had missed something. 'While many of us feel like we were treated with respect at Nike, that wasn’t the case in all teams,' he said at the meeting, news of which was earlier reported by The Wall Street Journal. 'And if all of our teammates don’t see the same opportunities, we just can’t accept that.'
Mr. Parker said the company plans to be more open about its work force representation and equal pay goals, starting with women and minorities. He also noted that a number of programs are being started across the company, including training programs for future leaders, mentoring programs and unconscious bias training for all employees.
Though full of promise, the New York Times noted that reception of the speech was mixed; some employees felt hopeful of change instigated by the firing of executives, while others feeling the words were empty. You can read the full account here.