OMAHA, Neb. – Officials with Mutual of Omaha on Friday announced that the mutual insurance company will immediately stop using Native American imagery in its corporate logo.
“We believe the decision to retire our corporate symbol is the right thing to do and is consistent with our values and our desire to help overcome racial bias and stereotypes,” Mutual of Omaha Chairman and CEO James Blackledge said in a statement. “We feel strongly our logo should reflect who we are as a company and our commitment to positive change.”
Blackledge told the Omaha World-Herald that the logo never had a disrespectful connotation and that he was unaware of any complaints about its use, “But we are still using a symbol from another culture that isn’t ours.”
“We don’t want to or need to appropriate that symbol,” Blackledge told the World-Herald. “The Mutual of Omaha name stands on its own, and we want to be part of the change that’s happening.”
The company first adopted its logo in 1950, according to the World-Herald. Citing company histories, the newspaper reported the logo was meant to represent the Plains Indians “and their values of strength of character, honesty and care for their members.”
Mutual of Omaha officials also announced Friday plans to give members of the company’s management team more training on diversity and inclusion, including unconscious bias training. It also plans to enhance its efforts to recruit and develop a more diverse workforce and increase its spending on community-based efforts around racial equity, inclusivity, economy equality and social justice.
“We have a longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, and a comprehensive diversity and inclusion strategy, so we have not been standing still in this area,” Blackledge said. “However, in terms of outcomes, we have room for improvement and recognize that we must do more.”
The decision comes amid a national reckoning over racism in the wake of George Floyd’s death on Memorial Day at the hands of Minneapolis police. Earlier this week, officials with the NFL’s Washington franchise announced plans to drop its Washington Football Team” moniker and MLB’s Cleveland Indians are expected to do the same.