Wells Fargo CEO Under Fire For ‘Limited Pool Of Black Talent’ Comment On Diversity
Wells Fargo Chief Executive Officer Charles Scharf has apologized for making an insensitive comment around race and diversity, after blaming the lack of diversity at the bank on “a very limited pool of Black talent to recruit from.” Reuters reported the CEO had referenced a shortage of talent from minority groups through a Zoom meeting this summer when he had reiterated that the bank had trouble reaching diversity goals due to there not being enough qualified minority candidates.
Scharf’s comments were made on June 18 following worldwide protests regarding the death of George Floyd and calls for higher positions in corporate office to end systematic racism. In the memo, he said “We need more diverse representation on our operating committee,” referring to the bank’s top executives. But he then went on to say, “While it might sound like an excuse, the unfortunate reality is that there is a very limited pool of Black talent to recruit from.”
After the Reuters report was published on Tuesday, the comment became widely criticized, with U.S. Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stating in a tweet, “Perhaps it’s the CEO of Wells Fargo who lacks the talent to recruit Black workers.” Scharf has then pledged to double the number of Black leaders over five years, telling hiring managers to consider diverse candidates for high paying roles that are open and to ensure diversity on interview teams.
Since Scharf was brought into the bank a year ago, it has added two Black executives to its operating committee – Lester Owens as head of operations and Ather Williams as head of strategy, digital and innovation.
Feature Image via CNBC