Sports apparel and footwear maker Under Armour Inc. has made a new hire to show just how serious it is about changing its culture after a difficult 2018.
The Baltimore-based company said Wednesday that Tchernavia Rocker would be joining the group next month in the newly created position of chief people and culture officer.
Rocker, who comes from Harley-Davidson Inc., will lead all facets of the firm’s human resources function and will work with the executive leadership team to advance its people and culture strategy. She’ll report directly to chairman and chief executive officer Kevin Plank.
“Tchernavia brings deep industry experience in building best-in-class HR operations while developing strong workplace culture rooted in brand, values and transparency,” Plank said.
The company vowed to reshape its workplace culture after it emerged last year that some employees, including Plank, had gone to strip clubs and charged the visits to their corporate cards — a practice that was subsequently banned.
An exposé in the Wall Street Journal also reported that women were invited to an annual company function based on their attractiveness to appeal to male guests.
“Our teammates deserve to work in a respectful and empowering environment,” Plank told the Journal in November. “We believe that there is systemic inequality in the global workplace and we will embrace this moment to accelerate the ongoing meaningful cultural transformation that is already underway at Under Armour. We can and will do better.”
Under Armour is following a growing trend among retail companies who are moving away from the traditional HR role — at least in title anyway. Hiring chief people officers instead of chief HR officers started in Silicon Valley where start-ups lured talent with the offer of so-called fat titles as opposed to large pay packets. But now retailers are adopting new names and a new outlook in key roles. As one headhunter put it, the new title sounds “warmer” than a chief HR officer and telegraphs that the company really cares about its workforce and cultures, as opposed to just resources.
Other companies that have chief people officers include luxury e-tailer Yoox Net-a-porter Group, online retailer Alibaba and retail giant Walmart Imc.