Diversity-Related Executive Roles Increase in Food Industry

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Following the murder of George Floyd on May 25 and months of Black Lives Matter protests, many businesses have gone beyond simple statements of support to actual promises to change the way they operate, reported Harvard Business Review (Sept. 11).

As a result, many food companies are searching for their first chief diversity/inclusion officer.


The McDonald’s Corp. appointed Katie Beirne Fallon to the position of chief global impact officer, reported Forbes (Oct. 1). The new role will report directly to president and CEO Chris Kempczinski.

Fallon will oversee the newly created Global Impact Team, which is intended to harness and direct McDonald’s ongoing efforts to affect positive change around the world. The team will bring together key functions across the organization that are critical to achieving McDonald’s purpose to feed and foster communities, including Government Relations, Communications, Sustainability, and oversight for the company’s corporate philanthropy and environmental, social, and governance strategy.

“Today’s pace of change makes these efforts more urgent and important than ever. I am excited to work with Chris, the Senior Leadership Team and the talented teams across the business as we create a new Global Impact organization that will redefine McDonald’s positive influence on the world for years to come,” said Fallon.

“At a time of great global complexity, there is an increasing expectation on companies to play a leading role,” said Kempczinksi in the company’s official statement. “Through this new structure, we will be able to build on the strong foundations these teams have built and drive further collaboration to have an even greater impact.”

However, Fallon will face some immediate challenges—including a $1 billion discrimination lawsuit filed by dozens of Black ex-franchise owners.

Fallon joins McDonald’s from a similar role at Hilton. A Marshall scholar, Fallon was a longtime staffer for New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, later serving as his legislative director before moving on to become staff director of the Senate Democratic Policy and Communication Center. From late 2013 to early 2016, she served as director of legislative affairs for the Obama administration, before moving on to Hilton.


SpartanNash hired Shaquanda Gordon as VP of human resources, talent, and diversity.

Gordon will build on the company’s efforts to ensure a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce, by driving the overall human capital strategy for the organization, according to a press release. In the newly created position, Gordon will lead the teams responsible for developing and executing upon diversity and inclusion, talent acquisition, and talent development strategies that drive a high performing inclusive culture.

Prior to joining SpartanNash on Sept. 8, Gordon served as Gordon Food Services’ VP, North American human resources. She also served in progressive HR leadership roles at Perrigo, Meijer, and Priority Health.

“Shaquanda has the HR experience and executive leadership needed to advance SpartanNash’s internal and external diversity and inclusion initiatives,” said Yvonne Trupiano, EVP and chief HR and corporate affairs and communications officer. “The combination of the oversight for talent acquisition and development and diversity and inclusion will ensure our commitment to diversity and inclusion is present in all people decisions.”

Campbell Soup

Campbell Soup Co. recently appointed Camille Pierce VP and chief culture officer, effective Oct. 26.

In the newly created role, Pierce will lead Campbell’s enterprise-wide inclusion and diversity (I&D) strategy, working across the organization to build a winning team and culture, and aligning the company’s I&D goals with business outcomes.

“We’re approaching inclusion and diversity and culture change in a comprehensive and systemic way, by making it a company-wide priority supported by an integrated plan with measurable goals and a multi-year approach,” said president and CEO Mark Clouse.

Pierce joins Campbell from Whirlpool Corp., where she most recently served as senior director of global inclusion and diversity. In 2019, Pierce was recognized by Black Enterprise magazine as a Top Executive in Diversity & Inclusion.

Campbell recently introduced an actionable I&D strategy focused: on standardizing key business processes and increased learning opportunities; advocacy for ally networks and communities; and transparency and accountability. As part of this work, Campbell committed $1.5 million over three years to nonprofit organizations to raise awareness, advance education, and fight racism and discrimination.


United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) expanded its leadership team with the appointment of Guillaume Bagal to the new role of VP of diversity and inclusion, reported AndNowUKnow (Sept. 9).

Bagal will continue advancing UNFI’s commitment to promote equality, celebrate diversity, dismantle systemic racism in its workplace, and support justice in the communities it serves. He most recently served as head of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island.

“His immediate focus will be on team building, reviewing and revising our current D&I efforts, and bringing together a more holistic strategy to advance our position as North America’s premiere grocery wholesaler and a top workplace for associates of all backgrounds,” said chief human resources officer Danielle Benedict.