Originally Published on MarketWatch | Chief executives are asked if their likely successor will be a woman or a person of color
The CEOs from seven giant U.S. banks — all white men — told a House committee on Wednesday that it’s likely their successors also will be white guys.
That prediction came after a question from Democratic Rep. Al Green, who had noted that all seven chief executives are white men.
“This is not a pejorative. You’ve all sermonized to a certain extent about diversity,” Green said.
The black Texas congressman then asked the CEOs to raise their hands if they believed their “likely successor will be a woman or a person of color.” None of the seven bank bosses raised his hand.
After taking that poll, Green said: “I know it’s difficult to go on the record sometimes, but the record has to be made. All white men and none of you — not one — appears to believe that your successor will be a female or a person of color.”
The lawmaker then asked the executives if their banks were likely to have a female or person of color as CEO within the next decade. Five raised their hands to say “yes” — Bank of America Corp.’s BAC, +0.00% Brian Moynihan, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s GS, -0.96% David Solomon, Citigroup Inc.’s C, -0.97% Michael Corbat, State Street Corp.’s STT, +0.47% Ronald O’Hanley and Bank of New York Mellon Corp.’s BK, +0.12% Charles Scharf.
Green then criticized the CEOs for what he views as just talk about diversity: “I’m sitting next to a reverend, and I’ve heard him say that he’d rather see a sermon than hear a sermon. Let us have an opportunity to see a sermon when you return.”
Green was sitting next to Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, the Missouri Democrat who has served as a Methodist pastor.
In other words, the congressman was saying it’s easy to speak about diversity initiatives, but he would like to see more actual diversity among the CEOs when they next appear on Capitol Hill.
Ahead of the committee’s questions, the bank executives had talked up their diversity efforts. Corbat’s prepared remarks, for example, said it’s important for Citi to build an inclusive corporate culture, and the bank’s 15-person board of directors has five women and two minorities. Solomon’s statement noted that Goldman has increased its efforts to hire from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and it recently held a Hispanic/Latino Leadership Summit to connect with Hispanic and Latino students.
Green wasn’t alone in taking a tough line on the banks’ diversity efforts, with Virginia Democratic Rep. Jennifer Wexton tweeting the following: