Global banking group Santander US today announced the appointment of Virnitia Hendricks as its Chief Diversity Officer, Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (“DE&I”).
As Chief Diversity Officer, Hendricks will lead Santander’s DE&I efforts across the US, partnering with Santander’s US businesses to continue to develop scalable, DE&I strategies in support of an inclusive culture. She will also work directly with Santander US’ Boards of Directors and the US Leadership Team to create and measure well-established programs that foster equitable teams throughout the organisation.
“We are pleased to welcome Virnitia to the US Leadership Team, representing an important step in the ongoing transformation of our culture. Under Virnitia’s leadership, we can ensure our Santander US culture is fully inclusive where every customer, colleague and community partner is valued, heard and has an equal opportunity to succeed,” Santander US CHRO Rosilyn Houston said.
With her new role, Hendricks will also join the Santander US Leadership Team, headed by Santander US CEO Tim Wennes. She will have a dual reporting relationship to Mahesh Aditya, Santander Consumer (SC) CEO and US Diversity Champion, and Rosilyn Houston, Santander US Chief Human Resources Officer.
Hendricks joined SC in 2020 as its Head of DE&I, and served as the first senior executive in that role. During her brief tenure, the team made great strides in instilling DE&I principles into SC’s culture and business practices, publishing an employee guide to inclusive behaviors, establishing a robust mentorship program, introducing financial literacy coaching for employees, maturing supplier diversity, and leading financial sponsorship of the Chrysler Minority Dealers Association for US automaker Stellantis.
Commenting on her accomplishments, SC CEO Mahesh Aditya said, “Virnitia has made a tremendous impact at SC, helping us to build a more inclusive culture, and guiding us through critical conversations about where we are as an organisation and where we want to go, culturall. In her expanded US role, Virnitia can build on the concepts learned at SC and extend these best practices company-wide.”
Speaking of her new role and responsibilities, Hendricks said, “I am excited to serve as Chief Diversity Officer, Head of DE&I at this pivotal time in Santander US’ diversity, equity and inclusion journey. Santander’s commitment to expanding the leadership of the DE&I office lays the groundwork for years to come and our larger diversity, equity and inclusion commitment to uplifting the voices of all, building bridges of understanding, inviting diverse perspectives and bringing about real change in a sustainable way.”
Prior to joining Santander, Hendricks served as Principal Consultant and Executive Coach for Quotidian Group. She has also held senior leadership roles for New York Life and Travelers Property Casualty in operational leadership, customer advocacy, call center management, analytics and reporting, and audit and compliance.
Hendricks received her bachelor’s degree and MBA from the University of Hartford, and her Doctor of Management degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of Phoenix and has received several awards during her career including being named one of Connecticut’s Most Influential and Powerful Women by the Connecticut Diversity Council.
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