The intrigue surrounding the workings of Red Bull senior management has deepened with reports out today bosses at the US operation had detailed plans to increase the company’s diversity efforts before being fired.
As reported on B&T last week, CEO of Red Bull’s North American operations Stefan Kozak and CMO Amy Taylor were suddenly sacked without explanation.
Their departure was said to be related to a leaked internal marketing conference in Detroit in February where a shocked audience were shown racially offensive slides.
The presentation was headed by Red Bull’s global head of music, entertainment and culture marketing Florian Klaass from its head office in Austria. Klaass also recieved his marching orders last week.
According to reports, Red Bull’s US operations had been alarmed by the Austrian head office’s lack of interest in diversity projects such as the Black Lives Matters movement. Head office labelling it a “local” matter.
Business Insider is reporting that Kozak and Taylor had been working on plans to increase black representation at the company and through its marketing and community outreach.
In a video presentation to staff from June 17, Kozak reportedly said he wished the soft-drink maker had been more vocal in its support of Black Lives Matter.
Taylor added that the company was also keen to work with social justice organisations like Chance the Rapper’s Chicago charity SocialWorks and New Orleans-based Overcome Racism.
Also announced was a program that would match employee donations to non-profits and employee resource groups that would “foster inclusivity” through mentorship programs, networking events and cultural development workshops.
Following Kozak and Taylor’s departure, the programs have since been shelved with employees told they could either accept new roles in the marketing department or receive a redundancy package.
A spokeswoman for Red Bull telling Business Insider: “As colleagues, when we have things to say to each other, we speak to each other directly. We trust that you will appreciate this.”
Red Bull is owned by Austrian billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz who had previously shown his support for Donald Trump, voiced support for right-wing parties in Austria and opposed refugee intakes into the country.
Just last week images from 2015 from a Russian Red Bull Flugtag event featuring Barack Obama and men in blackface chasing a banana have also resurfaced, increasing scrutiny of the brand’s culture.