Wells Fargo CEO Charles Scharf apologized this week for insensitive comments he made about the bank’s efforts to hire Black talent.
On June 18, Scharf sent a memo announcing new diversity initiatives, proclaiming the bank wasn’t reaching its diversity goals because of a “limited pool” of Black talent, according to NBC News.
Earlier this summer, Scharf echoed similar sentiments on a Zoom call, two participants told Reuters.
"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 the memo.
On Wednesday, the Wells Fargo official issued a statement, saying that he regretted undermining Black employees that help run the financial institution.
“There are many talented diverse individuals working at Wells Fargo and throughout the financial services industry and I never meant to imply otherwise,” Scharf said.
“Across the industry, we have not done enough to improve diversity, especially at senior leadership levels,” he added.
Scharf has pledged to double the number of Black people in leadership positions over the next five years and said executive compensation packages are components of reaching diversity goals, per Reuters.
However, several Black senior executives across the industry said they are frustrated by claims of a dearth of Black talent and called it a cop-out that companies use to mask their inefficiencies doing the work necessary to land diverse talent.
"There is an amazing amount of Black talent out there," Ken Bacon, a former mortgage industry executive currently on the Comcast Corp. Board, said. "If people say they can't find the talent, they either aren't looking hard enough or don't want to find it."