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CEO DATELINE – Associations announce diversity pledges

Oct. 15, 2020
By Walt Williams

Multiple associations have announced new diversity and inclusion commitments in recent days in response to heightened awareness on the issue following this year’s Black Lives Matter protests.

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Business Roundtable on Thursday said that its corporate members will take action in six areas—employment, finance, education, health, housing and criminal justice—to advance racial equality and justice. Among other things, BRT members will expand their work with historically Black colleges and universities to find employees and together have pledged $1 billion in support for minority-owned businesses by 2025.

“This summer we took on the urgent need for policing reform. We called on Congress to adopt higher federal standards for policing, to track whether police departments and officers have histories of misconduct, and to adopt measures to hold abusive officers accountable,” BRT CEO Joshua Bolten said in a statement.

“Now, with announcement of this broader agenda, CEOs are supporting policies and undertaking initiatives to address several other systems that contribute to large and growing disparities.”

The American Council on Life Insurers said on Monday it had launched a new initiative to advance economic empowerment and racial equity, starting with having all its board members sign the Pledge for CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion. The association will also push member companies to make changes to promote diversity, including expanding access to affordable financial security in underserved markets and making their boards more diverse.

“Life insurers believe that all Americans should have access to tools and resources that will help them thrive and succeed,” ACLI CEO Susan Neely said in a statement. “ACLI and its members are asserting their commitment to this goal and presenting concrete, outcome-changing steps for economic empowerment in financially underserved communities throughout the nation.”

On Tuesday, the American Investment Council and the National Association of Investment Companies announced they would partner to encourage more diversity in the private equity industry. AIC members will become part of the advisory committee for NAIC's Women in Alternative Investments Initiative, an effort to support and increase the number of women entering the private equity and hedge fund sectors, with a strong focus on women of color.

“We know that having more people of color and women at the leadership tables will strengthen our industry and help build better businesses across America,” AIC CEO Drew Maloney said in a statement.