Exclusive: Saks Hires First Diversity and Inclusion Executive

Saks Fifth Avenue has named Lori Spicer Robertson vice president of diversity and inclusion, a new role at the luxury retailer, WWD has learned.

Robertson is responsible for creating and leading strategic initiatives that foster a culture of equity, diversity and inclusion, the company said. She reports to Sarah Garber, Saks’ chief people officer.

“We have been focused on expanding our diversity and inclusion initiatives at Saks Fifth Avenue, which includes developing the right strategies for each function of our business so that D&I is threaded throughout the entire company,” Garber said Monday, when Robertson joined Saks. “Lori’s leadership and deep expertise in the D&I space across a number of sectors will help accelerate this work to ensure we’re creating a culture of equity, diversity and inclusion for all of our associates, customers and partners. This is a pivotal time for driving change.”

Robertson said Saks has the opportunity “to position itself as a leader in diversity and inclusion and truly make an impact in the industry. I have always believed that fashion is a means for people to express their unique identities.”

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Earlier she was manager of change leadership at First Horizon Bank, where she developed the bank’s first diversity and inclusion strategy, a diversity council, a training program to help leaders better invest in diverse talent, and a diversity dashboard with key performance indicators for all business functions.

At Saks, Robertson will work with the executive team and other company leaders to create and manage programs designed to ensure fair and equitable treatment of associates, customers and vendors. She is also responsible for providing strategic direction and opportunities for educating associates to increase awareness and support of equity and inclusion.

Garber oversees Saks’ human resources, which was renamed the “people team” last July. The function includes talent and people operations, diversity and inclusion, people rewards, talent acquisition and people business partners for corporate, stores and distribution centers.

Aside from working to ensure equitable treatment of its associates, Saks said its diversity and inclusion function includes efforts “to amplify underrepresented voices in its content including how products are selected and how customers are treated in stores.” Saks has a D&I advisory council comprising associates who work with the executive team on diverse perspectives and driving change. The company also has employee resource groups “to foster a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with organizational missions, values, goals, business practices, and objectives.”

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