In a discussion about diversity, John Rogers, the founder and CEO of Ariel Investments, was unusually outspoken. “The state of diversity in the finance industry is appalling. Ninety-nine percent of leaders talk a big game (about promoting diversity), but in places like Chicago, we have gone backwards. We’re just not fighting hard enough.”
Mr. Rogers spoke to the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association in New York recently. He sits on the organization’s at-large board and his comments were published on the organization’s web site.
In the discussion, Mr. Rogers talked about how he became interested in finance as a boy, that time he beat Michael Jordan and how he is working to instill that interest in young people in Chicago schools. But it’s his comments on the industry today that are most powerful.
“Here in Chicago, at major funds and banks, you can count the number of black partners on one hand,” he said. “That is just the reality of it. It’s something that needs to be addressed. People aren’t demanding that industries reflect the society in which they live.”
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