Red Bull execs outlined plans to increase diversity efforts a month before being fired. Here's their slide deck.
Red Bull's North American CEO and CMO outlined plans to grow the company's diversity efforts June 17 before being fired on July 13. The plans came in response to Black Lives Matter and promised to grow Black representation at the company and in its marketing and work with organizations like Chance the Rapper's SocialWorks. They also followed a June 1 letter signed by 300 employees that asked the company to take more action on diversity. Red Bull employees said the plans' future is uncertain since the executives were fired and the company's US cultural marketing division was dissolved. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
About a month before being fired July 13, former Red Bull North American CEO Stefan Kozak and president and CMO Amy Taylor announced ambitious plans to increase Black representation at the company, its marketing, and community outreach. Multiple employees saw their firing as an act of retaliation by Red Bull corporate leadership in Austria, who the employees believe were less interested in the project and unhappy about the leaks of an employee letter urging more public support for Black Lives Matter and an offensive slide from a corporate event in February. Asked for comment for this article, a Red Bull spokeswoman said: "As colleagues, when we have things to say to each other, we speak to each other directly. We trust that you will appreciate this." CEO Kozak said he wished Red Bull had taken more action on BLM In a video presentation June 17, Kozak said he wished Red Bull had been more vocal in its support of Black Lives Matter. "Tangible change is the only thing that counts," Kozak said. Regarding corporate leadership in Austria, he said, "while we may not always like everything that is being decided, we work very closely with our global counterparts." H also said Red Bull had already emerged from the "storm of COVID," gaining market share over chief rival Monster with US sales down by only 2.1% in the first half of 2020 but up more than 15% in the first half of June. The company hired a consulting firm to help with internal conversations about diversity Taylor said in the presentation that Red Bull had remained "respectfully quiet on social media" regarding Black Lives Matter while working on the diversity project. She said the company would grow Black representation in its staff, marketing, and work with social justice organizations like Chance the Rapper's Chicago charity SocialWorks and New Orleans-based Overcome Racism. She also said Red Bull recently hired consulting firm Rewire to facilitate conversations about diversity. Taylor also announced the launch of a program that would match employee donations to nonprofits and employee resource groups that would "foster inclusivity" through mentorship programs, networking events, and cultural development workshops. "Our goal is not to drive representation through quotas and percentages," she said. "It's to fundamentally change the way we play." Rewire's founder did not respond to a request for comment on the firm's planned collaboration with Red Bull. Red Bull also dissolved its cultural marketing teams The executives' firings, along with layoffs in cultural marketing, have thrown into question the future of the diversity program. The company dissolved its cultural marketing divisions in the US, whose activities included sponsoring Black-focused cultural events, and elsewhere, according to an email viewed by Business Insider. "While we are starting a new chapter at [Red Bull North America], what has not changed is your resilience, drive and commitment to the brand," read an email sent to Red Bull's distribution team by VP of finance Tomasz Nowakowski on July 15. The employee who shared that email called it "tone deaf" for not mentioning the events that led to the execs' departures. One employee said staff were told that they could either accept new roles or receive exit packages but that no new jobs have been announced. Employees say the executive firings alarmed US staff A Red Bull employee who worked on the BLM project called Taylor a "beacon of light" on matters of diversity and said her sudden departure has staff concerned about whether leadership will make additional restructuring moves. Another employee said Red Bull achieved much of its success in the US by sponsoring events like hip-hop shows and b-boy dance competitions and that by firing Kozak and Taylor, Red Bull "got rid of the only people to even acknowledge that there might have been a problem" with diversity. "I got the message loud and clear," this person said. Got more information about this story or another ad industry tip? Contact Patrick Coffee on Signal at (347) 563-7289, email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, or via Twitter DM @PatrickCoffee. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.SEE ALSO: More than 300 Red Bull employees signed a letter expressing 'concern' about the company's response to Black Lives Matter and asking for 'internal action.' Read their note to executives. A slide showed how Red Bull has outperformed chief rival Monster during the pandemic.
Online and convenience store sales made up for a drop in sales at bars and venues.
Sales shot up in June after a brief coronavirus-related dip.
CMO Amy Taylor said the diversity project would focus on Black voices within and beyond Red Bull.
Red Bull hired consulting firm Rewire to help the company act on plans to diversify its marketing work.
Red Bull planned to collaborate with SocialWorks, whose founder Chance the Rapper has performed at company-sponsored events.
The presentation highlighted Overcoming Racism; founder Matthew Kincaid was a winner of Red Bull's 2017 social entrepreneurship competition.
According to the video, employee groups would "range from celebrating ethnicity to gender, sexual orientation and more."
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