In June, some Adidas employees questioned whether Parkin had addressed racial issues appropriately, sending a letter directly to the company’s supervisory board. The board rejected the statements made in the letter. In a meeting last year, Parkin said racism was “noise” that is only discussed in America, and that she didn’t believe the brand had an issue with racism, according to the Wall Street Journal.
In a memo to Adidas staff announcing her retirement, Parkin said she’s always worked against racism but recognizes “the focus on me has become a hindrance inhibiting the company from moving forward.”
Responding to employee criticisms that it was struggling with the issues of racism and discrimination, Adidas pledged $120 million for racial justice causes and Black communities in the U.S. The company also said it would support 50 university scholarships for Black students each year over the next five years, and that a minimum of 30% of all new positions at Reebok and Adidas in the U.S. would be filled with Black and Latino candidates.