Diversity chiefs gain prominence as banks confront racial inequality
Allissa Kline, Laura Alix
The American Banker article, “Diversity chiefs gain prominence as banks confront racial inequality,” quoted Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant
Bradlee Benn on why diverse perspectives are crucial to an organization. The article is excerpted below.
Banks across the country are redoubling their efforts to improve diversity within their ranks by hiring chief diversity officers or elevating such roles to the C-suite level.
For some, the announcements are culminations of work that began at least a year ago. For others they are explicit responses to George Floyd’s death in May and the civil unrest that followed.
U.S. Bancorp in Minneapolis, for example, recently announced that Chief Diversity Officer Greg Cunningham will now directly report to Chairman and CEO Andy Cecere. PNC Financial Services Group in Pittsburgh promoted Richard Bynum from regional president to the brand-new post of chief corporate responsibility officer and tasked him with overseeing diversity and inclusion efforts. And Birmingham, Ala.-based BBVA USA is making plans to hire its first-ever chief diversity officer.
Meanwhile, the American Bankers Association, the trade group that represents banks of all sizes, is expanding its diversity team to two people with the addition of a vice president for internal diversity, equity and inclusion who will be responsible for increasing the hiring and retention of underrepresented groups and developing a culture of inclusion within the organization.
A variety of voices will “bring diverse perspectives, which are really important for how businesses think about long-term strategies, growth opportunities and key business decisions,” said Bradlee Benn, co-leader of Russell Reynolds Associates’ diversity and inclusion practice. “It’s also going to have a direct impact in terms of an ability to attract and retain top talent within organizations.”