(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II is pleased to see that Amazon has announced Starbucks COO, Rosalind “Roz” Brewer, will be added to the company’s 10-member Board of Directors following Congressional pressure to diversify its leadership. Starbucks’ second-in-command and the former CEO of Sam’s Club, Brewer will become the only minority on Amazon’s Board.
“I would like to congratulate Roz Brewer on her appointment to Amazon’s Board of Directors,” said Congressman Cleaver. “For far too long, the invaluable life experiences that minorities bring to the table have been limited by corporate America. The push to broaden the viewpoints of boardrooms across the Tech industry has been a slow-moving process, but make no mistake, we are seeing progress, and Roz Brewer is the latest example.”
In May of last year, Congressman Cleaver and members of the Congressional Tech Accountability Caucus, sent a letter to Jeff Bezos expressing the caucus’ frustration with the company’s refusal to implement a “Rooney Rule,” which would require the company to consider at least one woman or minority when selecting candidates for its Board of Directors. Shortly after the letter was sent, Amazon changed course and adopted a policy to include a diverse slate of candidates for all director openings. Congressman Cleaver also met with officials from Amazon in June of 2018 to discuss diversity and inclusion efforts at the company. In July of 2018, along with Congresswomen Robin Kelly (D-IL), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NC), Congressman Cleaver sent a follow-up letter to Amazon asking if they would commit to having a person of color on their board by 2019.
“I am pleased to see Amazon is heeding the calls by Congress to supplement their Board with individuals who bring a unique perspective to the rapidly-growing company. Diversity in leadership has been one of the key challenges facing the tech industry and corporate America as a whole, and the hiring of Roz Brewer by Amazon is a critical step in addressing this issue,” Congressman Cleaver said.
“Although this is a step in the right direction, I want to be clear: There is still much work to be done. Today, less than 17% of board seats at Fortune 500 companies are held by minorities. In the tech industry, the problem is even worse. This is unacceptable in the United States in 2019. I hope that this appointment will lead to a domino-effect where more companies choose to follow Amazon’s lead and hire a wider array of talent moving forward,” Congressman Cleaver said. “If not, Congress will still be there to hold them accountable.”
Emanuel Cleaver, II is the U.S. Representative for Missouri’s Fifth Congressional District, which includes Kansas City, Independence, Lee’s Summit, Raytown, Grandview, Sugar Creek, Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Oak Grove, North Kansas City, Gladstone, Claycomo, and all of Ray, Lafayette, and Saline Counties. For more information, please contact Heather Frierson at 816-842-4545 or [email protected] A high-resolution photo of Congressman Cleaver is available here.