PARIS — Marking a fresh push for more openness in its offices, Kering has named Kalpana Bagamane Denzel chief diversity, inclusion and talent officer, charged with promoting a working environment at the luxury group that encourages diversity and inclusion.
The move throws the spotlight on issues related to social responsibility, adding another subject to the table at a time when fashion and luxury brands are racing to shore up their environmental credentials. It is related to another key, strategic issue for companies in the industry— attracting and retaining talent.
Bagamane Denzel will also “take the lead on developing a talent strategy where diversity and inclusion will be at the core of attracting, recruiting, developing and retaining talent,” Kering said in its statement revealing the appointment.
“It is our commitment to take practical action to offer all our employees a working environment that is inclusive, open and stimulating,” said Béatrice Lazat, the company’s chief people officer.
Kering has been building its focus in this area, promoting diversity through its sustainability strategy, which includes a goal of gender equality and equal pay among men and women by 2025.
In revealing Bagamane Denzel’s appointment, Kering said that its focus on accelerating and expanding efforts to support diversity and inclusion comes from a belief that diversity, in relation to genders, cultures, origins, sexual orientation, identity or disabilities, is “both of unlimited value and a source of collective intelligence.”
“Kering’s sincere commitment to its people and culture, as demonstrated by its values of mutual respect, individuality, and authenticity, is exemplary,” said Bagamane Denzel of her new employer. The executive, who has worked in management consulting, brand strategies and was a director of executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates, starts her new position today and reports to Lazat.
Bagamane Denzel, an American citizen, who has lived and worked in Europe and Asia, started her career at Andersen Consulting, followed by Procter & Gamble. She has degrees from Virginia Tech University and Northwest University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.
At Russell Reynolds, where she held the position of managing director, Bagamane Denzel co-led the diversity and inclusion practice. She also advised global and Asian clients across consumer sectors on talent strategy, acquisitions and development in Asia Pacific.
Kering has been building on its focus on women’s issues. One of the first companies to sign the Women’s Empowerment Charter of UN Women and the UN Global Compact in 2010, it counts a large proportion of women employees — including in the upper ranks of management. Women make up 63 percent of the group’s employees, 51 percent of its managers, more than 30 percent of its executive committee and 60 percent of its board. Last year Kering was recognized for having the greatest number of women on its board of directors among some of the largest companies on the Stoxx Europe 600 index — a prize granted by European Women on Boards along with Ethics & Boards, which compared the 200 companies.
As part of a broader ambition to promote equality in the workplace, Kering in September said it would extend its global parental leave to all parents of a new child.
In one ranking, the Refinitiv Diversity & Inclusion Index, it held the tenth position out of 7,000 companies this year.