Wyndham International, a company committed to diversity, today announced that it received the second highest grade on the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Lodging Industry Report Card—receiving a 2.93 (or B-). The highest grade earned was 3.0 (or B). Additionally, Wyndham, one of 13 large hotel chains evaluated in the lodging category, earned grades that ranked higher or equal to the report card leader in such areas as employing African Americans (B or 3.4), using African-American advertising and marketing companies (B or 3.5) and charitable giving to African-American organizations (A or 4.0).
“Diversity is a business imperative for Wyndham and we continue to introduce awareness programs and business opportunities for all of our constituents,” said Fred J. Kleisner, chairman and chief executive officer of Wyndham. “We are pleased to see that our aggressive efforts to have lasting relationships with African-American consumers, businesses and organizations are being recognized.”
Kleisner, a friend and strong supporter of the NAACP, was recently named chairman of the organization’s 2004 Corporate Campaign. In this role, he provides leadership in the corporate community and helps support NAACP programs in education, economic development, youth leadership development and health initiatives.
Wyndham first scored a D- on the NAACP’s report card in 1999, ranking 11th out of the 11 hotel companies evaluated. Since 1999, Wyndham has seen steady improvement in its grade, earning a C- (sixth highest out of 11) in 2001, B- (fourth highest out of 11) in 2002 and B- (second highest out of 11) in 2003. Immediately upon receiving the negative grade in 1999, Wyndham’s newly established executive team, under the leadership of Kleisner and Ted Teng, president and chief operating officer, refocused Wyndham’s corporate mission on becoming the diversity leader in the hotel industry. The company also focused on achieving sharp increases in business from untapped emerging market segments—business that drives revenue and increases market share—including people of color, women, and the gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender communities.
“We are on a journey to create a company that is internally and externally diverse,” said Donna DeBerry, executive vice president of global diversity and corporate affairs. “Our goal is to reach the day when diversity is no longer a specific initiative or concentrated effort, it just ‘is.’”
The NAACP Economic Reciprocity Initiative (ERI) was launched in 1996 as a sustained consumer movement measuring corporate America’s commitment to the African American citizenry and other people of color. ERI targeted companies are surveyed for their activity in employment, equity ownership and franchise opportunities, advertising and marketing, philanthropy (charitable giving) and vendor relationships.