Experts appointed to new Diversity Advisory Council to steer Sky’s ambitions on diversity and inclusion

Monday 11 January 2021
  • Sky reveals members of its new Diversity Advisory Council, one of several initiatives Sky is introducing to improve diversity and inclusion.
  • Denise Peart appointed to the newly created Chief Talent, Diversity and Inclusion Officer role on Sky’s Group Executive.
  • External experts appointed to Diversity Advisory Council to help shape strategy and maintain progress towards being a more diverse and inclusive organisation.

In June 2020, Sky announced a series of commitments to support anti-racism and improve diversity and inclusion across the company. Sky committed to invest £10million per year across its markets for each of the next three years to improve representation and progression of minority groups. The business also committed to put targets in place to measure progression of under-represented groups throughout the organisation.

In a step towards delivering these commitments, Sky has appointed seven leaders in diversity and inclusion to a new advisory body. Sky’s new Diversity Advisory Council will be responsible for advising and guiding the business on issues of diversity, including using its voice externally, and helping to maintain progress towards becoming a more inclusive organisation.

Members of the group are experts in their field and represent views from a variety of backgrounds. Their unique perspectives will add value to the way Sky steers diversity and inclusion as it creates new plans to improve representation and progression of minority groups, especially at a senior level. The group will work alongside Sky’s Diversity Action Group, a diverse cross-section of Sky’s workforce chaired by Stephen van Rooyen, EVP & CEO UK & Europe.

The newly announced members of Sky’s Diversity Advisory Council are:

  • Caroline Casey – Founder, The Valuable 500
  • Kanya King – Founder & CEO, MOBO Organisation
  • Piers Linney – Entrepreneur
  • Leon Mann – Founder, The Black Collective of Media in Sport
  • Ndidi Okezie – CEO, UK Youth
  • Baroness Usha Prashar – Crossbench Member, House of Lords
  • Roland White - Global Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Microsoft

In addition to announcing the members of its new Diversity Advisory Council, the company has also confirmed the appointment of Sky’s Chief Talent, Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Denise Peart who joins Sky this month.

Reporting to Debbie Klein, Sky’s Group, Marketing, Corporate Affairs and People Officer, Denise Peart will be responsible for developing and delivering Sky’s Group Talent strategy and work with the Group Executive to drive Sky’s ambition to become a more diverse and inclusive organisation.

Debbie Klein, Sky’s Group Chief Marketing, Corporate Affairs and People Officer said:

“It’s vital that Sky pulls from a wide and varied pool of experts to advise on improving diversity and inclusion, and help us use our voice to affect change.

“These experienced, industry leading advocates will give us important new perspectives as we work towards becoming an even more inclusive organisation.

“Our new Chief Talent, Diversity and Inclusion Officer also brings over 25 years of global experience to our work in 2021 and beyond. I’m delighted Denise is joining us to help make our vision of more inclusive, diverse and skilled workforce a reality.”

Notes to editors:

Caroline Casey – Founder, The Valuable 500

Founder of The Valuable 500, the only global CEO community dedicated to transforming disability business inclusion, Caroline Casey has been an entrepreneur, inclusion activist, campaigner and speaker for the past 20 years. Alongside launching The Valuable 500 at the WEF Annual Summit in 2019, Casey is also a TED speaker, Eisenhower Fellow and a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum.

Kanya King – Founder, & CEO, MOBO Organisation 

Kanya King CBE has built MOBO Organisation into an award-winning music, media and entertainment company driven by cause, creativity, culture and community. As a vanguard of cultural diversity, MOBO is a go-to partner for driving inclusion and diversity not just in music, TV & film but across the wider society through compelling content, inspiring and entertaining storytelling and unique collaborations. MOBO is recognised for its advocacy work by governmental and advisory bodies as well as through a vast network of globally known music, film and numerous other leaders who share its values and principles supporting what it stands and fights for.

Piers Linney – Entrepreneur

Piers Linney is a technology and telecommunications entrepreneur and investor with a professional City background in law and investment banking. He is best-known as an investor on BBC 2’s Dragons' Den and is a well-known and high profile champion of entrepreneurship, small businesses, diversity and inclusion. Piers is a Non Executive Director of the government-owned British Business Bank, has been recognised as one of the UK’s top 20 Ethnic Minority Executives and won the inaugural Entrepreneur of the Year award at the Black British Business Awards.

Leon Mann – Founder, The Black Collective of Media in Sport

Leon Mann, a leading sport and equality consultant is the founder of the Black Collective of Media in Sport (BCOMS), co-founder of the Football Black List and founding member of the Sports People's Think Tank. Leon is a former spokesperson for Kick It Out and also helped create a corporate governance course for former footballers to help increase diversity in sports’ boardrooms. He was recognised in 2018 by the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, for his work striving to increase diversity in the media.

Ndidi Okezie – CEO, UK Youth

Ndidi is the CEO of UK Youth; a leading national charity with a growing network of over 7000 organisations and nation partners. Collectively using the education disciplines of youth work to support the social, personal and skill development of young people. Prior to this; she worked as a teacher and school leader for ten years, spent six years as the Executive Director of the charity Teach First, and lead on Digital and Customer Voice Strategy for Pearson PLC. She is a Non-Executive Board Director for the youth homelessness charity Centrepoint, The Mulberry Schools Trust and The National Citizen Service.

Baroness Usha Prashar – Crossbench Member, House of Lords

Baroness Prashar of Runnymede, an independent member of the House of Lords and with expertise in diversity and inclusion , has led and chaired a number of public and voluntary organisations with distinction. She has also served as a non-executive director of Channel 4, Unite, ITV, Cabinet Office and Nationwide Building Society.

Roland White - Global Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Microsoft

As Global Director for Diversity & Inclusion at Microsoft, Roland and his team are accountable for strategic leadership and subject matter expertise to embed the implementation of diversity and inclusion programs in all countries outside of the US, alongside measuring the impact and ultimate ROI. As an openly gay leader, living with long term depression, Roland has worked with and mentored many global organisations, is a regular speaker at conferences and is recognised as one of the top most influential leaders in the subject of Diversity and Inclusion.

Denise Peart - Chief Talent, Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Sky

Denise joins Sky from Marks & Spencer, where she has been part of the People Leadership team since June 2018. Prior to this, Denise spent 8.5 years at The Coca Cola Company where she held a number of key, global leadership positions, latterly as HR Director, Global Head of Talent Management & Global Functions Capability, based in Atlanta, GA. Earlier experience was gained at BP, GE Money and Tesco. In these roles, Denise developed a significant track record of creating and delivering commercial, people-focused strategies to drive performance, business transformation and a culture of inclusion.

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About Sky

Sky is Europe’s leading media and entertainment company and is proud to be part of the Comcast group. Across six countries, we connect our 24 million customers to the best entertainment, sports, news, arts and to our own award-winning original content.

Our technology, including the market leading Sky Q, connects people to everything they love - TV, music, games, online video, fitness and educational content, all in one place, easy. Our streaming service, NOW TV, brings viewers all the enjoyment of Sky with the flexibility of a contract-free service.

Building on the success of Sky Originals like Chernobyl, I Hate Suzie and Brassic, we are doubling our investment in original content by 2024 through Sky Studios. Sky News provides impartial and trustworthy journalism for free, while Sky Arts, the UK’s only dedicated free-to-air arts channel, makes the arts accessible for everyone. Our new TV and movie studio, Sky Studios Elstree, is expected to create over 2,000 new jobs and generate an additional £3 billion of production investment in the UK over the first five years alone.

We believe that we can be a force for good in the communities in which we operate. We’re committed to being Europe’s first net zero carbon entertainment company by 2030. We take pride in our approach to diversity and inclusion: we’ve been recognised by The Times and Stonewall for our commitment to diversity and we’ve put in place a new programme to invest £30million across our markets over the next three years to tackle racial injustice.