Wells Fargo CEO Offends Some With Comments About Black Talent

Wells Fargo CEO Charles Scharf reiterated comments he made about Black talent during a meeting via Zoom this summer. According to two participants, Scharf claimed that the company had issues meeting its diversity goals because there was a "limited pool" of Black talent.

"While it might sound like an excuse, the unfortunate reality is that there is a very limited pool of black talent to recruit from," Scharf said.

Scharf also made a similar assertion in a company-wide memo on June 18 as protests erupted across the country following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.

Despite his comments, some industry professionals felt that the Zoom meeting was productive and Scharf was genuine.

"The meeting was incredibly constructive... I walked away being incredibly surprised at how genuine and sincere he is," Alex David, president of the Black/African American Connection Team Member Network, stated.

Others walked away from the meeting frustrated with Scharf and with a feeling that Wells Fargo had not tried hard enough to meet its diversity goals.

"There is an amazing amount of Black talent out there," former mortgage industry executive Ken Bacon said.

"If people say they can't find the talent, they either aren't looking hard enough or don't want to find it."

At Wells Fargo and beyond, Black faces are hard to find in managerial positions at Fortune 500 companies.

Recruiting firm Heidrick & Struggles found that African-Americans make up 10% of new director appointments at Fortune 500 companies. Hispanic and Latinx director appoints were even harder to come by.

Moving forward, Wells Fargo is committed to creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace. Scharf says he is "committed to deep and systemic change to increase diversity and has held several forums where there has been candid conversation and unfiltered feedback."

Photo: Getty Images

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