Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co.) is following through on its pledge for a more diverse and inclusive workplace. The company recently named Elizabeth A. Morrison chief diversity, inclusion and belonging officer.
With 20 years of experience in diversity and inclusion roles at companies such as Live Nation Entertainment, Campbell Soup Company and Comcast, Morrison will drive change throughout the company, starting with the company’s hiring processes. In this newly created role, she will lead strategies for attracting and retaining a diverse workforce and fostering a more equitable company culture.
“I’m thrilled to join one of the world’s most iconic brands and an organization with a proud history of advocating for equality,” Morrison said. “This is an unprecedented time of awakening and accountability for diversity, inclusion, belonging and racial justice, and I’m excited to build on LS&Co.’s core values to drive systemic and sustainable change for our employees, consumers and communities.”
Morrison’s hire represents an important step forward in LS&Co.’s journey to build a more inclusive workplace, said Tracy Layney, LS&Co. chief human resources officer. “We need to build a truly comprehensive, holistic and global diversity, inclusion and belonging strategy,” Layney said. “I believe that Elizabeth is exactly the right person to help lead this work. I also want to emphasize that it remains the work of all of us to continue holding ourselves accountable every single day for challenging biases, welcoming new ideas and lifting up new voices.”
Earlier this year, the company committed to establishing a candidate pool for open positions that includes 50 percent minorities. The denim giant said it will follow through on this by continuing its partnership with historically Black colleges and universities and diverse campus organizations.
The commitment was made in response to the Black Lives Matter movement this summer that drove fashion brands to evaluate their diversity efforts. In June, LS&Co. published demographic representation data in a diversity and inclusion report. It found that the majority of its management positions (59 percent) were fulfilled by men. And further, an overwhelming majority were filled by individuals who identify as white: LS&Co.’s leadership team is 73 percent white, 16 percent Asian and 6 percent Latinx. Black/African-American employees represent just 2 percent of the leadership workforce.
Moving forward, LS& Co. president and CEO Chip Bergh pledged to publish annual updates on employee demographics and diversity statistics, publish wage equity audits every other year and search for a Black leader to join LS&Co.’s board of directors.
“Diverse organizations, where everyone regardless of background can grow, thrive and bring their full selves to work, consistently outperform homogenous ones,” Bergh said. “I can’t wait to get to work with [Elizabeth]. I know she will be an invaluable partner as we work to build a better, more inclusive future.”