Wells Fargo CEO apologizes for comments about diversity

Business

NEW YORK (NewsNation Now) — Wells Fargo CEO Charles Scharf has apologized for remarks about a shortage of talent among minority groups.

The apology comes after the CEO blamed a lack of diversity at Wells Fargo on a “limited pool of Black talent to recruit from.”

He made the comments over the summer on a Zoom call with bank employees and in a memo on the companies diversity initiatives.

The comments came to light this week.

Here is Scharf’s full letter to Wells Fargo employees:

Some of you may have seen media stories referencing a comment on diverse talent from my June “Our commitment to change” memo. I apologize for making an insensitive comment reflecting my own unconscious bias. There are many talented diverse individuals working at Wells Fargo and throughout the financial services industry and I never meant to imply otherwise. I’ve worked in the financial services industry for many years, and it’s clear to me that, across the industry, we have not done enough to improve diversity, especially at senior leadership levels. And there is no question Wells Fargo has to make meaningful progress to increase diverse representation. As I said in June, I have committed that this time must be different.

Just in the last few months, we have announced and welcomed new diverse senior leaders who have deeply impressive resumes. We hired two members of the Operating Committee: Lester Owens, head of Operations, and Ather Williams III, who joins in October as head of Strategy, Digital and Innovation. We are also close to hiring a leader for the new Diverse Segments, Representation & Inclusion Group, who will report to me and be responsible for advancing the company’s diversity efforts in the marketplace and workplace. We are pleased that Kristy Fercho recently joined our company to lead Home Lending. We have also promoted talent internally, like Gigi Dixon to head of External Relations.

Over the past several months, I have greatly enjoyed and benefited from many conversations with the Black/African American Connection and other Team Member Network affinity groups. I am committed to continuing to listen and learn and appreciate all of your help in driving meaningful change at our company.

While we have a lot of work to do, I am encouraged by our early progress. In addition to the new senior leader hires, we recently launched a “returnship” program focused on diverse talent who have been out of the workforce for an extended period to support their return to the industry. Additionally we are requiring diverse candidate slates for key roles with compensation of more than $100,000 and increasing business with diverse suppliers. Other efforts underway include:

Reaching out to diverse talent: To help expand our outreach and sourcing opportunities with diverse talent, our University Programs team has been working closely with our Operating Committee leaders to help build engagement with historically Black colleges and universities, or HBCUs, and Hispanic-serving institutions, or HSIs.

Anti-racism training course: A new live anti-racism training course is being developed — we’ll share more information as details come together.

Senior leader accountability: Operating Committee leaders have been working with their Diversity & Inclusion consultants and HR business partners to integrate D&I into their business plans and reviews, and each Operating Committee member is an executive sponsor for at least one of our Team Member Networks.

Executive compensation: As part of the year-end evaluation process, Operating Committee members will be evaluated based upon their progress in improving diverse representation and inclusion in their area of responsibility. These evaluations will have a direct impact on year-end compensation decisions.

This is an important moment in our firm and we will not let it go by without substantive changes. I cannot do this alone, and I am asking for your help. I know we will be judged based on our outcomes. Thank you for all you do for our company.

Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf

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