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CEO of Tommy Hilfiger parent company vows to ‘do better’ to boost corporate diversity, address social injustice

America is being “ripped apart by systemic racism” and “we need to do better” as a corporation to address social injustice in the country, PVH CEO Manny Chirico told CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Thursday.

“We need to do better from a recruiting point of view, we need to do better from a training and development point of view and, most importantly, we need to do better when it comes to representation at leadership [and] management positions throughout PVH,” Chirico said in a “Mad Money” interview.

Chirico was responding to a question from Cramer, who asked why it’s important for companies to take a stance during the current climate in the nation. PVH, the parent company of such apparel brands as Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, in a press release earlier this month said that “Black lives matter,” adding that it is not a “controversial or divisive statement.”

The slogan has been a rallying call in the fight against police violence and brutality against black people, who die at a rate disproportionately higher than other groups at the hands of law enforcement.

“As a country, as individuals and as a corporation we need to do better,” Chirico said. “We can do better, and we will do better.”

“We need to also focus on racial and ethnicity issues, as well, and get better representation in our executive ranks across the board.”

PVH is one of many American firms that have committed to doing more to fight racism in the wake of the high-profile killings of three black Americans across the country: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. Corporations have historically remained silent on issues of police brutality.

Floyd died in police custody on Memorial Day after Minneapolis police officers detained him, over a suspected counterfeit $20 bill, in an incident caught on video. The four officers have since been charged in his death, including one for second-degree murder after he pinned him to the ground by driving his knee into his neck for nearly 9 minutes.

Arbery was chased, shot and killed by vigilantes in Georgia in February, a case that was not brought to light until video footage of the shooting went viral online in May. Taylor was killed by police in Kentucky during a botched police raid. Their deaths and many others over the years, on top of longstanding economic inequities, have fueled days of massive protests against police brutality and for accountability across the world.

As part of PVH’s push to address the systemic racism that has plagued black communities for generations, the company said it would work to amplify the voices of its black workers and the black community. The company also said it would deliver a $100,000 donation to both the National Urban League and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

PVH also said it would match employee donations in North America to racial justice organizations. The corporation will also work to educate its staff on racism and bias.

“Talk is cheap, but we’ve embarked on a journey. We’re listening to our black associates” and “business resource group in PVH,” Chirico said.

“Over the next few months, we will come out with meaningful targets, and we will be accountable to ourselves and our stakeholders to meet those targets in the future.”

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