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Abercrombie models in Singapore for article on chief diversity officer Todd Corley. Must credit Choo Yut Shing, Flickr

Abercrombie & Fitch’s chief diversity officer has quit

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The man credited for making retailer Abercrombie & Fitch a more diverse and inclusive workplace has resigned.

Todd Corley, who has led the company’s diversity & inclusion efforts over the past decade, is moving on to launch the TAPO Institute, a company which focuses on inclusive leadership based on “principles of transparency, authenticity, persistence and optimism,” a press release stated.

Amy Zehrer, executive vice president of stores, will assume Corley’s responsibilities for all 100,000 store associates, “as part of [the company’s] continuing commitment to diversity and inclusion”.

Despite A&F being constantly dogged with allegations of religious, size and race discrimination, Corley is widely responsible for turning around the profile of the employees from being 90% white 10 years ago, to more than half being minorities.

In addition, more than 40% of A&F vice presidents are women; 75% of executive vice presidents are women, as are 33% of the board of directors.

“As chief diversity officer, Todd Corley created and implemented a transformational framework for our D&I efforts and we are thankful for everything he has contributed over his 10 years with A&F,” said Amy Zehrer.

“We will further enhance the great work that has already been completed under Todd’s leadership, such as our stores going from less than 10% non-white associates to over 50% today.”

Corley, who helped A&F also get recognised as a best place to work for the LGBT community from 2007 to 2014, said he is proud of his achievements.

“The efforts began around race and ethnicity but evolved to include diversity in the way people think, cultural differences, and creating an inclusive place to work,” he said.

Zehrer will report to CEO Mike Jeffries, who isn’t without controversy himself.

Despite A&F’s impressive diversity achievements, there has been plenty of negative press around Jeffries and a number of his policies, particularly around the dress code which stipulated hijabs, crosses and other religious items weren’t permitted.

Jeffries also came under much public scrutiny last year after and old interview with Salon resurfaced, where he appeared to discriminate against women with larger body types.

“A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong,” he said. “Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”

Image credit: Choo Yut Shing, Flickr

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