Mutual of Omaha is also developing a more robust supplier diversity strategy, proactively seeking out vendors from underrepresented communities and purchasing from suppliers who are demonstrably committed to social justice and racial equity. (Photo courtesy mlifeinsurance.com/mutual-of-omaha)
Mutual of Omaha announced Friday it will replace its corporate logo that for 70 years has featured a stereotypical depiction of a Native American chief. The transition away from the Native American imagery will begin immediately.
“We believe the decision to retire our corporate symbol is the right thing to do and is consistent with our values and our desire to help overcome racial bias and stereotypes,” said Mutual of Omaha Chairman and CEO James Blackledge. “We feel strongly our logo should reflect who we are as a company and our commitment to positive change.”
The pivot comes amid a national reckoning to address issues of racial equity and social justice, and just weeks after Washington’s NFL team announced that it would be changing its name and logo, long considered a racial slur and caricature of Native Americans. The Washington D.C. franchise came under pressure from sponsors and advertisers to make changes, including FedEx, which pays for naming rights to the team’s home stadium.
Blackledge told the Omaha World-Herald that Mutual of Omaha has not been aware of the logo’s disrespect to Native American culture: “But we are still using a symbol from another culture that isn’t ours,” he told the paper. “We don’t want to or need to appropriate that symbol,” he continued. “The Mutual of Omaha name stands on its own, and we want to be part of the change that’s happening.”
Along with its name change, Blackledge announced the Omaha, Nebraska-based company is committing an additional $1 million to the $2 million it donates annually to community-based initiatives and non-profit organizations committed to racial equity, inclusivity, economic equality and social justice.
The company’s management team will also undergo training on diversity and inclusion, including unconscious bias training.
“We have a longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, and a comprehensive diversity and inclusion strategy, so we have not been standing still in this area. However, in terms of outcomes, we have room for improvement and recognize that we must do more,” Blackledge said.
Mutual is also developing a more robust supplier diversity strategy, proactively seeking out vendors from underrepresented communities and purchasing from suppliers who are demonstrably committed to social justice and racial equity.
“As we work to create economic opportunity, it is incumbent upon us to seek diverse suppliers and business partners, and to ensure our vendors share our commitment to social justice and economic equality,” Blackledge said.