Sportswear giant Adidas resigned in the middle of a dispute over the company’s corporate culture and lack of diversity.
Karen Parkin is a British citizen who has worked at Adidas for over 20 years.
Her release follows protests from Adidas staff over a comment she allegedly made at an internal meeting last year.
Global brands face increasing pressure to act on racial equality after the death of George Floyd.
In a statement released by the world’s second-largest sportswear manufacturer, Parkin said she still opposed racism and “decided to retire and pave the way for change.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, earlier this month, a group of more than 80 Adidas workers called for an investigation into Ms. Parkin’s treatment of racism, diversity and inclusion.
Last year, at a meeting with employees at Adidas Reebok headquarters, Parkin said the issue of racism was a “noise” that was only heard about in the United States.
His resignation is one of the most prominent corporate movements to date, as Mr. Floyd’s death in May has heightened attention to discussions about racism and inequality around the world.
Parkin, who is leaving the post with immediate effect, was the only woman on the company’s board of directors.
His resignation means that the company’s executive board is now entirely made up of white men. Adidas has already said it will take action to address diversity and inclusion issues.
The company has promised to ensure that at least 30% of its new employees in America come from black or Latino backgrounds.
It has also set a target that these groups will occupy 12% of its leadership positions in the United States within five years.
Adidas is also among the growing number of global brands to join the boycott of advertisers on social media for their handling of racist content.
The move comes after the Stop Hate For Profit campaign called on companies to suspend their Facebook and Instagram ads for the month of July.
Some companies have gone further and have suspended their advertising on other platforms.
Adidas did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the BBC.