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H&M appoints global diversity leader

H&M has appointed Annie Wu as its new global diversity leader, following protests and criticism regarding a ”racist” image of one of its kidswear models.

Wu has been with the company since 2012, and is currently global manager of employee relations.

The retailer issued an “unequivocal” apology on its website last week for what it called a “poorly judged” product and image which featured a black child wearing a hooded sweater with the slogan “coolest monkey in the jungle”.

H&M said: “This incident is accidental in nature, but this doesn’t mean we don’t take it extremely seriously or understand the upset and discomfort it has caused.

“We have taken down the image and we have removed the garment in question from sale. It will be recycled.

“We will now be doing everything we possibly can to prevent this from happening again in future.”

Readers' comments (2)

  • Global Diversity Leader- now that’s a new one! This is H&M creating a title to do damage control on what is already done. Having seen the violent protests against H&M that took place in South Africa over the weekend which destroyed 4 stores and which I have to say was extreme, and in my view unnecessary, H&M have work to do. But giving someone a title like this is not the answer. The answer lies in training and educating young and inexperienced buying and marketing teams who make these day to day, decisions that very senior executives don’t always see until after the event. It is pure common sense that in a very sensitive world we live in, for many valid reasons, buying teams have to become far more aware and savvy about what they design, buy and market.

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  • Agreed, my current experience is that the young people coming into the business can have very narrow frames of reference culturally. Single issue politics seems to be developing a generation who can have a passionately held view on one issue but don't see how it fits into a wider socio-political cultural context. The ability to live in an echo chamber seems to be narrowing some people's outlook when we were sold the dream of the opportunities that the World Wide Web would create to explore new areas and share with other people across the world, helping to create greater co-operation and understanding. Currently, in its worst moments, it just seems like a vehicle for hurling abuse at strangers whose opinions you might disagree with. Let's hope we learn to use it in a more consistently positive way.......

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