Wells Fargo CEO: ‘A watershed moment’
Charlie Scharf announces specific commitments to advance diversity efforts across all levels of the company.
Updated Sept. 14, 2020 | This story has been updated to include new commitments announced in March to build a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf announced on Tuesday a series of commitments to ensure the company’s ongoing diversity and inclusion efforts result in meaningful change.
“‘Black Lives Matter’ is a statement that the inequality and discrimination that has been so clearly exposed is terribly real, though it is not new, and must not continue,” Scharf said in a letter to employees. “The pain and frustration with the lack of progress within both our country and Wells Fargo is clear. I personally, and we as a senior team, are working to develop actions that will meaningfully contribute to the change that is necessary. This time must be different.”
Among the commitments Scharf announced:
- Representation: Wells Fargo is committed to doubling Black leadership over the next five years. Currently among the company’s senior leadership, 41% are female, and 21% are racially or ethnically diverse; 6% are Black/African American. The company will aggressively recruit senior managers from outside the company, which will in turn better position Wells Fargo to promote from within for its top leadership roles.
- Compensation: Senior leadership will be evaluated based upon their progress in improving diverse representation and inclusion in their area of responsibility, which will have a direct impact on year-end compensation decisions.
- New and expanded diversity role reporting to the CEO: This is a new role which will have a broad mandate of driving diversity and inclusion in both Wells Fargo’s workplace and business, including working with business leaders to drive investments in products and solutions specifically for diverse populations across our country.
- Wells Fargo education sessions: The company will begin a series of education sessions in which employees can share with colleagues their personal stories and perspectives on the realities of racism in our country. All employees will be able to participate.
- New live anti-racism manager training: All managers will be required to participate in a new live and interactive program specifically designed to tackle today’s challenges. This will go well beyond the current standardized training that is inadequate to the challenge. Senior leadership will go through this training first, and then it will cascade throughout the company.
Additionally, in March, Scharf announced a series of expanded actions the company is undertaking to accelerate efforts to build a more diverse and inclusive workforce. Among the commitments:
- A focus on recruitment, hiring, and promotions to increase diverse representation in senior-level roles, particularly with female and racially/ethnically diverse employees.
- 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.
- A formal development program for high-potential employees to build a more diverse and inclusive talent pipeline.
- More responsibility for senior leaders to sponsor and lead diversity-focused programs.
- A consistent and regular way to measure diversity and inclusion progress across the company.
- A focus on expanding our diverse supplier pipeline by exploring opportunities with diverse asset managers and other business partners.
Supporting Black businesses
These commitments are in addition to recently announced business initiatives, including investing up to $50 million in African American Minority Depository Institutions as part of Wells Fargo’s commitment to supporting economic growth in African American communities.
In April, the company also announced that it will donate the fees it would otherwise receive from the Paycheck Protection Program to support small businesses, particularly those owned by Black and African Americans and by other entrepreneurs of color.
Scharf also noted that these actions are just a part of a larger Wells Fargo commitment to diversity and inclusion, which he noted goes beyond the issues around racial justice that these commitments are intended to begin addressing.
“We know that we can be a force for change across this country,” Scharf said. “I do believe that this will be a watershed moment where we change the outcomes and we will be part of that change.”