Delta Air Lines, Ralph Lauren among companies pledging to boost diversity in boardroom
On the heels of a $7.8 million hiring settlement with the Department of Labor for allegations of hiring discrimination against women and Black workers, Wells Fargo will increase Black leadership by 12%, Bloomberg reported. Delta Air Lines, meanwhile, said that by 2025 it would double the percentage of Black officers and directors, the organization’s CEO Ed Bastian said in a memo to employees last month. Currently, 7% of Delta’s top 100 officers are Black.
Others, like American fashion brand Ralph Lauren Corp. pledged to allocate 20% of its leadership roles globally to people of color, including Black, Asian and Latino workers, by 2023, the company announced on an earnings call Aug. 4. The fashion house also pledged to provide unconscious bias training.
Corporate America’s call to action was sparked following the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Companies, in response, began vowing to fund efforts to support the Black community.
The initiatives also come as more states move to enforce the bolstering of racial diversity in the boardroom. California passed a bill Monday stipulating that publically traded companies headquartered in the Golden State need to have at least one board member from a minority community by the end of 2021, and at least two or three by the end of 2022. If the bill passes into law, companies that defy it would be on the hook for fines starting at $100,000.
A number of companies have appeared to bolster diversity at work with diversity and inclusion training in the past, albeit after being publically shamed.
In June, an email from a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. employee about experiencing racial injustice at the bank went viral. The employee, managing director Frederick Baba, who is Black, called out managers for failing to support diversity among its bankers at work. Goldman Sachs implemented a $10 million fund for racial equity for the firm and its current and retired senior employees to “direct grants to support underserved communities around the world.”
And last year, LVMH-owned Sephora shut down for an hour-long diversity training for its 16,000 employees after singer SZA, who is Black, claimed she was racially profiled at a California store.