The Arizona Cardinals have a new executive position who will work under owner Michale Bidwill. The team announced on Monday the addition of Kelly Jones as the team’s Chief People Officer beginning March 1.
Jones’ role will be to oversee human resources functions throughout the organization and lead all programs and initiatives involving workplace diversity, equity and inclusion. Externally, Jones will also act as a liaison for the team within the community on a variety of civic initiatives.
At a time in which the NFL has been criticized for its hiring practices, especially at key football positions like general manager and head coach, the Cardinals are trying to do something about it.
The franchise has not shied away from diversity in the past. The Cardinals were the first franchise to have both a Black head coach and general manager at the same time with Dennis Green and Rod Graves.
“Kelly is a key addition to our senior leadership team with extensive experience in this critical area and an outstanding record of achievement,” said Bidwill in the team’s press release announcing the hiring. “He possesses unique perspective on the people aspects of our business and how they contribute to the organization’s overall strategy, mission and vision. The specific principles of diversity, equity and inclusion certainly align with our mission and core values.”
This is Jones’ background, as described in the press release:
Jones brings more than 20 years of progressive experience as an HR professional, operations leader and diversity practitioner. He comes to the Cardinals from Aramark Corporation where he had worked since 2014, most recently as Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Diversity. He previously worked in similar roles with Lockheed Martin (1998-2007, 2009-14) and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals (2007-09).
A native of Moorestown, NJ, Jones earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Temple University and a Master’s Degree in Human Resources Leadership from Rutgers University.
While the league ponders how to change its hiring practices, the Cardinals lead the way in actually trying to do something differently.
They are not looking for a new coach or GM, but this should at least help address this issue in the future and in current organizational practices.