- The Washington Times - Monday, November 9, 2020

Washington named Andre Chambers as its chief people officer — a position tasked with overhauling and overseeing the team’s human resources department.

Chambers’ hiring, announced Monday, comes as Washington’s workplace is being investigated for sexual harassment and other workplace misconduct. In stories from The Washington Post detailing the accusations, former employees criticized the team for the lack of a robust human resources department.

Chambers joins Washington after having spent the last three years with the Oakland Athletics in the same position. He also held roles with Electronic Arts (EA), Microsoft and IBM.

In a press release, Washington said Chambers will help “to reimagine the structure, people strategy and human resources function” and will work directly with team president Jason Wright.

“Andre is the perfect fit for this pivotal role at this crucial time for our organization,” Wright said in a statement. “With his combination of 20 years of high-level private-sector HR experience and his most recent work with the Oakland A’s, where he established an environment that was awarded a ‘Best Place to Work in Sports’ designation from Front Office Sports, he will lead the development of a culture here that is inclusive, innovative and balances the talent management of our current staff with best-in-class recruitment as we shape the franchise of the future.”

It has been almost four months since Washington hired attorney Beth Wilkinson and her law firm to launch an investigation into the team’s workplace. The NFL took over the inquiry in August, though retained Wilkinson as the investigator. Wilkinson will now report the findings to the league. More than 40 women have said they were sexually harassed while working for Washington.

While the process unfolds, Wright has said there are steps the team can take to improve its workplace regardless of any findings. In a recent podcast interview with The Athletic, Wright said there were “obvious” improvements to make.

Wright, who was hired in August, said he spent his first few months on the job evaluating Washington’s current working conditions.

“You don’t need an investigation to tell you that you need robust HR processes,” Wright said. “That you need an approach for people who feel like leaders are not leading according to our values. That you can raise those concerns safely, anonymously and action is taken.”

Washington has made a series of hirings on the business side over the past few months. In addition to Wright and Chambers, the team also tapped Julie Donaldson (vice president of media) and Julie Jensen (senior vice president of external engagement and communications) to be high-ranking executives.

“I’m incredibly excited to join the Washington Football Team during a time of great change and transformation,” Chambers said. “Jason and the leadership team have an extraordinary vision for this organization and I look forward to partnering with all of our front office employees to cultivate an amazing place to work.”

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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