Edelman's Smith moves to AMEX for diversity role

NEW YORK: American Express has hired Latraviette Smith, former SVP of global communications for Edelman, as VP of global diversity and inclusion.

NEW YORK: American Express has hired Latraviette Smith, former SVP of global communications for Edelman, as VP of global diversity and inclusion.

In the newly created role, Smith is responsible for developing and embedding American Express' global diversity and inclusion practices across the company, as well as overseeing a number of worldwide talent segmentation initiatives. She reports to Jennifer Christie, chief diversity officer, and VP of executive recruitment.

Smith assumed the position on August 1, and has begun to work the company's next three-year global diversity and inclusion strategy. Smith has oversight on a number of strategies, including advancing career opportunities and talent investment for women and African Americans within the company, as well as programming around international ethnic minorities in EMEA, Asia, and Australia.

"We're looking at how we move forward, and how we evolve, as well as continue to use diversity and inclusion as a function to support American Express' brand, and the bottom line," she said.

Smith is also leading the company's diverse marketplace intelligence program, which looks at "how American Express connects the dots to what consumers want, and how the company delivers on those expectations," she added.

At Edelman, Smith led development of the agency's internal and external communications strategy, digital and social media engagement, media relations, executive communications, advertising, strategic partnerships, and support of its intellectual property. During her 10-year tenure at the firm, Smith also served as national VP of Edelman's multicultural practice.

"It was a difficult decision to leave Edelman," Smith said. "I continue to have a tremendous regard for CEO Richard Edelman, and his vision, leadership, and what the firm is accomplishing and will continue to do in the industry. That said, for me American Express was the right time, the right place, and the right opportunity. It is unarguably an esteemed brand, and largely known as much for its focus on talent as its core business."

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