The CEO of Wells Fargo is under fire after making some questionable statements this summer while talking about the bank’s lack of diversity at the company.
“While it might sound like an excuse, the unfortunate reality is that there is a very limited pool of black talent to recruit from,” Wells Fargo & Co Chief Executive Charles Scharf said in a June 18 memo obtained by Reuters.
At least two Black employees said his comments didn’t sit right with them, but have decided to keep their identities anonymous.
Several Black senior executives at multiple companies are “shocked and puzzled” at the CEO’s claims that there’s not enough Black talent.
“There is an amazing amount of Black talent out there,” Ken Bacon, a former mortgage industry executive who is on the boards of Comcast Corp, Ally Financial Inc, and Welltower Inc said. “If people say they can’t find the talent, they either aren’t looking hard enough or don’t want to find it.”
In the wake of the backlash, Wells Fargo told Reuters that Scharf “is committed to deep and systemic change to increase diversity and has held several forums where there has been candid conversation and unfiltered feedback.”
Currently, their executives are 41% female and 21% racially or ethnically diverse, including 6% Black/African American.
Scharf announced diversity initiatives in the wake of the protests following George Floyd’s death. He pledged to double the number of Black leaders in five years.
He is also requiring hiring managers to consider diverse candidates for high-paying positions, as well as make sure there are diverse hiring managers.