Veronica Wu leaves VF Corp board
Denver-based apparel, footwear and accessories group VF Corporation announced on Tuesday that Veronica Wu has decided to step down from its board of directors, effective immediately.
VF said that, following Wu’s departure, the size of its board will be reduced from 12 to 11 members until a new director can be found. The company, which owns brands including Vans, The North Face, Timberland and Dickies, first appointed Wu to its board in March 2019.
Wu currently serves as managing partner at First Bight Ventures, an investment fund she founded in April of this year, which focuses on early-stage synthetic biology companies. She is also a member of the global advisory board of multinational IT services and consulting company Capgemini. Prior to this, she spent five years as a managing partner at Hone Capital, a U.S. venture arm of China Science and Merchants Investment Management Group, from 2015 to 2020.
According to a release from VF Corp., “Ms. Wu’s decision to step down from the board was not the result of any disagreement with VF on any matter relating to VF’s operations, policies or practices.”
Her departure does, however, come on the heels of a controversy stirred up by comments allegedly made by the investor concerning the Black Lives Matter movement.
The comments in question appear in leaked emails sent by Wu during her time as a managing partner at Hone Capital and cited by American news website Axios in a report published on Thursday. According to the report, the email exchange from June 2020 involved an office manager informing Wu that the firm intended to honor Juneteenth as a company holiday.
After the manager explained to Wu that a number of companies were choosing to honor the holiday due to the increased focus on issues of racism following the murder of George Floyd earlier in the year, the investor reportedly replied, saying, “I don’t believe in Black Lives Matter. If anything I think they are the true racists trying to stir up things to make this country going [sic] to socialism or even communism potentially.”
These comments are evidently at odds with VF’s stance on these issues. The company was quick to condemn Floyd’s death in May of last year, with chairman, president and CEO Steve Rendle sending a message about the event to all of the group’s employees.
“The virus behind our global shutdown has a formal name: Covid-19. The virus that caused the death of George Floyd and many other people of color also has a formal name. It’s called racism,” he wrote. “Racism is not welcome at VF Corporation. It never has been and never will be.”
Furthermore, in February of this year, the company announced a series of new initiatives aiming to achieve racial equality within the organization.
Neither VF Corp. nor First Bight Ventures have responded to FashionNetwork.com’s requests to comment.
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