Wells Fargo CEO apologizes for remark about lack of diverse talent
Adds details from the statement, background
Sept 23 (Reuters) - Wells Fargo & Co WFC.N Chief Executive Officer Charles Scharf apologized on Wednesday for "making an insensitive comment reflecting my own unconscious bias", as the bank sought to quell a row over his references to a shortage of talent among minority groups.
Reuters reported on Tuesday that Scharf had exasperated some Black employees in a Zoom meeting this summer when he reiterated that the bank had trouble reaching diversity goals because there were not enough qualified minority candidates.
He also made the assertion in a company-wide memo June 18 that announced diversity initiatives as nationwide protests broke out following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man, in police custody.
"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," Scharf said in a statement on Wednesday.
Scharf's earlier remarks were widely criticized after the Reuters report was published on Tuesday.
"Perhaps it's the CEO of Wells Fargo who lacks the talent to recruit Black workers," U.S. Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.
The CEO of the largest U.S. bank employer has pledged to double the number of Black leaders over five years and tied executive compensation to reaching diversity goals.
He is also requiring hiring managers to consider diverse candidates for high-paying roles that are vacant and ensure diversity on interview teams.
"As I said in June, I have committed that this time must be different," Scharf said.
(Reporting by Abhishek Manikandan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)
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