Kanye West demands board seat at Gap and Adidas

Don-Alvin Adegeest| Tuesday, July 21 2020

Kanye West, the controversial rapper and fashion entrepreneur, said in a Tweet he will walk away from his lucrative deals with Gap and Adidas if he is not appointed to the board of both brands.

Shares in Gap fell by 6 percent on Monday, despite the company aiming to grow sales with West’s Yeezy brand to 1 billion dollars by 2031. Shares in Adidas remained largely unaffected.

According to Forbes, West would like to be “the Steve Jobs of the Gap.” The finance and business media company estimate the designer and musician to have a net worth of 1.3 billion dollars.

West said: “Risk or no risk of losing whatever deal possible, I am not on the board at Adidas. I am not on the board at Gap. And that has to change today or I walk away.”

Adidas has a broad and diverse portfolio, including partnership with Beyoncé, top tier athletes and sport celebrities as well as brands like Stella McCartney. None of Adidas’ collaboration partners have been afforded a board seat.

Not that the Adidas board is by any means diverse or inclusive by today’s standards. Its executive board has just five members, all white, all male, including the CEO, CFO and chief sales and marketing directors. Its supervisory board has 16 members, of which 5 are female and one is Asian American. 15 of the 16 board members are Caucasian and 11 are male.

Research published by the Harvard Business Reviews (HBR) shows public companies wishing to increase their diversity benefit the most by recruiting candidates who also help improve cognitive diversity in the boardroom.

To achieve cognitive diversity the HBR recommends boards recruit racially, ethnically, and gender diverse directors who enhance diversity on two additional levels: first, by adding professional backgrounds, skills, and experiences in areas that are needed to meet the company’s strategic and operating needs; and second, by introducing new views, perspectives, and approaches to problem solving.

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