Vail Resorts CEO cites ‘personal failing’ on race, urges change
Vail Resorts Inc. CEO Rob Katz said his company and industry haven’t done enough to improve racial diversity in skiing, calling his own lack of action a “personal failing.”
“As much as I have been saddened seeing these acts of racism across our country, I am also confronted by the fact that our company and our sport are overwhelmingly white, with incredibly low representation from people of color,” Katz said in a memo this week, reflecting on the aftermath of George Floyd’s death in police custody in Minneapolis.
The statement is among the more pointed in a series of such messages from corporate chiefs in recent days, many of which have come with pledges of donations to social-justice organizations.
Noting his three decades in the ski industry and 14 years heading Vail Resorts, Katz said, “I must also confront that I have not done enough to make progress. I see this as a personal failing. On something that is not only a moral and societal issue, but a business issue.”
Beyond barriers to skiing participation that everyone confronts, such as costly equipment and hard-to-reach mountains, the sport has an insular culture marked by “deep implicit bias,” Katz said.
“While I would like to think that I have been an agent of change in this industry, a decade later I am still running a company that has very limited racial diversity,” the CEO said.
Katz said a coming employee event would focus on gender and racial diversity, and ways to create a more inclusive environment. “If we genuinely want to address racial inequality, let’s start by talking about what part we play in it—not just make statements about how others can do better,” he said. “This is a conversation I intend to embrace with more urgency.”