American Airlines adds chief diversity officer

Kenneth Charles

American Airlines announced Jan. 6 that Kenneth Charles has been named the airline’s Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer.

In this new role, Charles will lead American’s global inclusion and diversity strategies, the company said in a news release, including establishing the company’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to ensure best practices are implemented across all aspects of American’s people and business processes.

“Ken brings a wealth of experience to the team and is a proven leader in creating global inclusion strategies,” said American’s Chairman and CEO Doug Parker. “We are on a journey to enhance our approach to diversity, equity and inclusion across American, and Ken will help chart our course to ensure American is an industry leader. Our decision to become more intentional in this area is vital to our global business. Ken will provide a needed and important voice in all of our critical decision-making.”

Charles joins American from U.S. Bank, where he was Senior Vice President of Enterprise Talent, and brings more than 30 years of private sector experience, including a decade of inclusion and diversity leadership. He served as Vice President for Global Inclusion and Staffing and Chief Diversity Officer at General Mills.

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In addition, Charles has received the Ted Childs Life Work Excellence Award from Working Mother magazine, only the second male to receive the honor. Previously, he was listed as one of the Top Executives in Diversity by Black Enterprise and served on the Human Rights Campaign Business Advisory Council.

Charles holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Kansas and a bachelor’s degree from Duquesne University.

“We have progressed our company’s focus on inclusion and diversity, and we recognize we can and will do even more,” Parker said in the news release. “We are committed to building on our diverse and inclusive culture to not only make American a welcoming airline for all customers, but also a great place to work for every team member.”

– FWBP Staff