Global gaming giant Flutter has announced its membership in WiHTL, a “collaboration community devoted to increasing diversity and inclusion in the hospitality, travel, and leisure industry (HTL).”
As part of the relationship, Flutter, the owner of brands including FanDuel and PokerStars, will sponsor WiHTL’s Women Non-Executive Director (NED) program.
The unique program provides the skills, training, and support needed to ready women in senior leadership for non-executive roles, explicitly focusing on achieving strategic direction in the boardroom.
Flutter’s CFO, Paul Edgecliffe-Johnson, will also take on a founding role in the organization’s new CFO Committee.
The group of CFOs from across the HTL sector will focus specifically on diversity and inclusion within the finance function.
Edgecliffe-Johnson spoke to the announcement in a release:
“We are delighted to be joining WiHTL and sponsoring the Women Non-Executive Director Programme. Diversity at all levels of an organisation, starting with the board, is essential for long-term business success and very important to Flutter. Equipping future potential NEDs with the knowledge and skills to take on these important roles is key to their development and is central to building a more inclusive boardroom.
Flutter Aims to Deliver ‘Meaningful Change’ Internally
Flutter, notably, employs more than 23,000 people across five continents.
With the membership announcement, the company said it is committed to building a diverse and inclusive work culture that reflects the communities it serves.
As part of its executive-led Global Advocacy Programme and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion strategy, Flutter said it aims to understand the lived experiences of its people, particularly those from marginalized communities.
The hope is this will allow the company to champion diversity and deliver meaningful change across the organization.
Bonus contacted Flutter for details about how WiHTL membership will advance its diversity and inclusion efforts. Flutter responded to say it would provide a comment but has not done so.
WiHTL Adds Race and Ethnic Inclusion to Diversity Goals
Initially, when first founded, the ‘W’ in WiHTL stood for women, as gender equity was the community’s focus. Now, it says that ‘W’ stands for a lot more.
According to its website, over the last two years, WiHTL shifted to include race and ethnic inclusion within its focus. The group is concerned with the challenges faced by various underrepresented groups and aims to create a “truly” inclusive HTL industry.
However, as is unfortunately common in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) space, the makeup of WiHTL’s leadership reflects what needs to change. A quick tally of WiHTL’s listed advisory board and the board’s advisors finds a majority are men. Even more stark is the lack of visible ethnic and racial diversity.
Bonus contacted WiHTL to learn more about the community, its goals and programs, and its board. As with Flutter, WiHTL indicated an intent to respond but has yet to provide answers. We will update the article if either party responds.
Still, Tea Colaianni, founder and chair of WiHTL, spoke to Flutter’s membership in the announcement:
I am thrilled to welcome Flutter Entertainment to our Collaboration Community and delighted that they are sponsoring our Women NED Programme, which is key to increasing diversity in boardrooms across the industry. With its global reach and high-profile brands, Flutter will make a significant contribution to our community.
I am also very pleased that Paul has agreed to be the founding member of our new CFO committee, spearheading diversity and inclusion in this important area. Our committees play a central role in sharing best practice and driving progress within the industry, and this new CFO committee will harness the collective power of senior leaders in finance to deliver meaningful change.