Adidas has a new human resources SVP that aims to keep employee engagement at the forefront.

In an email to Footwear News, Adidas confirmed that Vanessa Abrahams-John, global head of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), will also take on the position of North America’s human resources SVP.

According to the outlet, per Adidas, Abrahams-John will be tasked with driving the company’s priorities and executing its global DEI strategy.

“This broadened role deepens my commitment to the iconic adidas brand to continue doing the work I love – leading people and driving culture transformation with empathy, optimism and integrity. I am thrilled to join the NAM HR team in our Portland HQ to continue fostering an environment of inclusion and genuine care for our people,” Abrahams-John shared via LinkedIn.

Adidas has experienced a significant turnaround within its HR leadership team over the last few years after a series of complaints were filed of alleged racism in 2021. The accusations led to the departure of former Global Head of HR, Karen Parkin, and catalyzed the company to rethink its approach to DEI initiatives.

In a press release from July 2023, Adidas shared that Michelle Robertson would transition to the role of SVP workplaces and global functions and be responsible for global human resources, people and culture “on an interim basis,” after Amanda Rajkumar stepped down. Rajkumar was an executive board member and labor director of Adidas AG who previously held the responsibilities from June 2021 to July 2023.

In January 2024, Robertson began her role as executive board member, global human resources, people and culture, per LinkedIn.

In light of Rajkumar’s departure, the company stated in its official press release, “Under her leadership, we made great progress in fostering a deeper culture of inclusion and creating better leadership accountability.”

With these new duties, Abrahams-John plans to build on the company’s goal to create spaces of inclusion through putting an emphasis on empathy and transparency.

“I focus on unlocking engagement and retention by transparent and honest communications to set expectations, rewarding and celebrating wins and individual accomplishments, and practicing deep empathy to address individual concerns,” she told Footwear News in June 2023.

Abrahams-John hopes to drive change within the company by encouraging employees to show up as their authentic selves and model this mentality in her own work.

“My commitment is to role-model the values of Adidas and bring my authentic and joyful self to work each and every day to ensure our teammates are valued, motivated and inspired.” Abrahams-Jonn stated in her LinkedIn post.