Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf apologized for telling employees that the banking giant was failing to meet diversity goals because there were not enough qualified minorities in the industry.
“While it might sound like an excuse, the unfortunate reality is that there is a very limited pool of black talent to recruit from,” Scharf said in a memo in June, Reuters reported.
After significant blowback, including from members of Congress, Wells Fargo publicly released a follow-up message Scharf sent to employees Wednesday.
“Some of you may have seen media stories referencing a comment on diverse talent from my June “Our commitment to change” memo,” Scharf wrote. “I apologize for making an insensitive comment reflecting my own unconscious bias. There are many talented diverse individuals working at Wells Fargo and throughout the financial services industry and I never meant to imply otherwise.
“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. And there is no question Wells Fargo has to make meaningful progress to increase diverse representation. As I said in June, I have committed that this time must be different.”
Here is a sampling of reactions to Scharf’s original comments: