Charles Scharf, the CEO of Wells Fargo, is facing backlash on Twitter after he claimed that his company’s lack of diversity stems from a “limited pool of Black talent.”
The 55-year-old first made the remarks earlier this summer during a company zoom call, Reuters reported. He then repeated those sentiments via a June 18 memo regarding diversity initiatives following the nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd, the outlet continued.
“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 expressed in the memo obtained by Reuters.
Reuters noted that not everyone involved in the call was offended, but news of Scharf’s remarks is now making the rounds on Twitter — with many taking to the platform to criticize the CEO.
Below are some of the responses:
Perhaps it’s the CEO of Wells Fargo who lacks the talent to recruit Black workers. https://t.co/CI7CRriU3i
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 23, 2020
This year Wells Fargo paid a $3 billion fine for creating millions of fake accounts using the names of real customers, hurting their credit ratings and charing them fees.
No one's gone to jail, though. Just too talented, I guess. https://t.co/C7woH3Jbbz
— Jamal Thalji (@jthalji) September 22, 2020
Wells Fargo is absolutely terrible. In every way. https://t.co/dvVFnkFRai
— Shaun King (@shaunking) September 22, 2020
i wonder if he's doing the "stories white men tell themselves so they don't have to fix the systems that favor them" schtick, or if jimmie walton paschall, who leads d&i at wells fargo, told him this so he didn't feel bad (which is what that job becomes at a certain level). https://t.co/Ta5PS2eZc4
— EricaJoy (@EricaJoy) September 22, 2020
Wells Fargo literally just admitted racial profiling and discrimination on a national platform
— 弥助 (@LeeTRBL) September 22, 2020
On September 22, Wells Fargo issued an apology on Twitter on behalf of its CEO, saying his comments had been “misinterpreted.”
A statement from our CEO regarding the recent media reports: pic.twitter.com/HBdzDxoTdh
— Wells Fargo (@WellsFargo) September 23, 2020
Scharf has promised to increase the bank’s number of Black employees by half in leadership positions over the next five years, Reuters reported.
Here’s what you need to know about Charles Scharf:
1. Scharf Hails From New York City
Born on April 24, 1965, Scharf was raised in the New York City suburbs, according to Brooksy.
His father worked as a Manhattan broker and family dinners were prioritized, the outlet continued.
“We used to have dinner every night together…we shared everything around the dinner table and it was just one of those things,” he told Brooksy.
“You didn’t miss dinner, not because you were afraid to, but that’s just the way it was.”
2. Scharf Earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Johns Hopkins University & an MBA From New York University
Scharf pursued a Bachelor’s degree at Johns Hopkins University, according to his Wells Fargo biography.
Although he initially had an interest in becoming a research chemist, Brooksy added, he decided to take the route of business.
“I loved science, I loved the application of science, and I loved the learning aspect of it,” Scharf told the outlet. “But the idea of coming into a space and working for the most part on your own, being in a very controlled environment, no windows, very focused on one thing, it just didn’t excite me and it’s not what I wanted to do.”
Scharf later pursued an MBA from New York University, Wells Fargo added.
3. In 1987, Scharf Became the Youngest Professional Employee at the Commercial Credit Corporation
In 1987, Scharf became the youngest professional employee at the Commercial Credit Corporation, Brooksy said. He began working there part-time as a senior in college, the outlet added.
Scharf later served as the CEO of Bank of New York Mellon from July 2017 to October 2019, on top of serving as the chairman of its board from January 2018 to October 2018, Wells Fargo said.
The professional’s resume also includes a stint as the chief executive officer and a director of Visa Inc. from November 2012 to December 2016, where he “transformed the firm into a technology-driven digital commerce company by partnering with the world’s leading technology companies to drive new payment experiences and introduce new technologies to improve payment system security,” the company continued.
4. Scharf Took Over Wells Fargo in 2019 in the Midst of Financial Scandals
Scharf took over the “embattled $1.97 trillion bank last year to save it from a series of financial scandals,” The New York Post reported.
Former Wells Fargo chief executive John G. Stumpf announced his departure in October 2016 after the bank was accused of creating “sham accounts using the names — and sometimes, the actual money — of the bank’s real customers,” the New York Times said.
In September 2019, Wells Fargo announced Scharf as the CEO and president, according to a company press release. Scharf also currently serves as a member of the bank’s Board of Directors of Wells Fargo & Company.
5. Scharf is the Director of Microsoft Corporation & Serves on the Board of Trustees of Johns Hopkins University
Juggling a full schedule, Scharf is works as the “director of Microsoft Corporation, serves on the board of trustees of Johns Hopkins University, is a member of The Business Council, and is chairman of the New York City Ballet,” Wells Fargo states.
He also currently lives in New York City, the company added.