(Associated Press) Mutual of Omaha plans to replace its longtime corporate logo, which for 70 years has featured a depiction of a Native American chief, the insurance company announced Friday.
The move comes as corporations and sports teams around the country face increasing pressure to dump nicknames and depictions that reference American Indians amid a nationwide movement calling for racial justice.
“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,” Mutual of Omaha CEO and Chairman James Blackledge said in a news release Friday.
The Omaha, Nebraska-based company is in the process of creating a new logo.
Blackledge said the company also is committing an additional $1 million to the $2 million it donates annually to community-based initiatives to address racial equality and social justice. The company’s management team will also undergo additional training on diversity and inclusion, including unconscious bias training, the company said.
Mutual first adopted its Indian chief head logo in 1950, according to its website. The company has said the chief logo was intended to represent the Plains Indians and their values of strength of character, honesty and care for their members, according to the Omaha World-Herald.
Mutual of Omaha to Retire Corporate Logo
OMAHA, Neb. (July 17, 2020) – Mutual of Omaha today announced several new initiatives to address issues of racial equity and social justice, including the removal of Native American imagery from its corporate logo and additional funding for initiatives and charities addressing these issues.
“Mutual of Omaha has a longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, both within our company and in our community. As an organization and a leadership team, we are focused on taking additional actions to answer the call for racial equity and inclusion,” said Mutual of Omaha Chairman and CEO James Blackledge. “We have spent time listening to diverse perspectives among our associates, community leaders and diversity and inclusion experts, and are taking further action to advance racial equity and social justice to create meaningful change.”
Mutual will stop using the Native American imagery associated with its corporate logo. The transition away from the current symbol 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,” Blackledge said. “We feel strongly our logo should reflect who we are as a company and our commitment to positive change.”
The company has earmarked $1 million in additional funding for community-based initiatives and non-profit organizations committed to racial equity, inclusivity, economic equality and social justice. In 2019, the company and its Foundation contributed more than $2 million to nearly 60 charitable organizations working in this critical space. In addition, the company will also offer the time and talent of its associates to be directly involved in these initiatives as appropriate.
Mutual also announced it will provide its management team additional training on diversity and inclusion, including unconscious bias training. The company will enhance its efforts to recruit, hire, promote, develop and retain a diverse workforce and heighten its focus on inclusive culture-shaping. Performance expectations will be expanded to evaluate management on progress in these areas.
“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.
Mutual will continue to focus on issues of economic equality and social justice, with additional programs and initiatives in the months ahead, he said.