- McDonald's appointed Reginald J. "Reggie" Miller vice president and global diversity, equity and inclusion officer, effective Nov. 9. Millers' appointment, announced Nov. 2, follows the September retirement of Wendy Lewis, global chief diversity officer and vice president of community engagement.
- Millers' title has been expanded to include a focus on equity, the company said. As a direct report to Heidi Capozzi, executive vice president and global chief people officer, Miller will work closely with the senior leadership team and "leaders across our markets as we further integrate our DEI efforts into our business strategy and help to drive our continued success," Capozzi said in a note sent to employees viewed by HR Dive. In his most recent role as vice president of global inclusion and diversity at VF Corporation, Miller developed and implemented the company's first formal diversity and inclusion strategy, she said. Prior to working at VF Corp, the Army veteran was the director of diversity strategy and support for all Walmart stores in the U.S., and was a recruiter and D&I leader at Tyson Foods.
- "It's a pivotal time for diverse voices and perspectives to be celebrated and engaged in accelerating meaningful change," Miller said in a statement.
The evolution of McDonald's diversity, equity and inclusion practices has been in the spotlight for some time as it faced major leadership changes, discrimination lawsuits and more.
Capozzi was appointed to her position in March by CEO Chris Kempczinksi. "I've been representing the conversation around diversity and inclusion on the executive leadership team since I joined earlier this year and will continue to ensure this is a top priority — and an enduring one — that can impact our business, our people and our communities," she said in a July 9 letter to employees, viewed by HR Dive, announcing Lewis' retirement.
Capozzi also announced the creation of a global, cross-functional advisory leadership council of leaders from across the system to "holistically identify and address areas where McDonald's can be a catalyst for change." Lewis, who spearheaded the initiative, made "incredible progress to advance McDonald's approach and understanding of diversity and inclusion," Capozzi said.
McDonald's board members voted to fire then-CEO Steve Easterbrook over a consensual relationship with an employee in November 2019. But the company filed a lawsuit against Easterbook in August, claiming he allegedly had three additional sexual relationships with workers, Restaurant Dive reported. McDonald's also is facing a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by franchise owners and a class action suit alleging sexual harassment against female employees.
"Reggie and I share the same goal," Capozzi said in a Nov. 2 letter to employees viewed by HR Dive. "In order to move forward, we must move away from the notion that the responsibility of diversity lies with one person, one department or one group. It is not solely the job of those with 'diversity' in their titles. Reggie will provide the necessary leadership and guidance to support our collective ambition."
As the restaurant chain aims to improve workplace culture during a pandemic, McDonald's restaurants appear optimistic. The company announced in September a youth initiative. McDonald's also is expanding its Passport to Success Explorer digital curriculum and the McDonald's Youth Opportunity program, which provides young people access to McDonald's employment opportunities through virtual career development opportunities.