BOE to Remove Portraits of Governors Linked to Slave Trade
A pedestrian passes road works in view of the Bank of England in the City of London. (Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg)

BOE to Remove Portraits of Governors Linked to Slave Trade

The Bank of England will remove portraits of former governors linked to the slave trade as protests across the globe sparked by the killing of George Floyd push institutions and businesses to deal with past links to slavery and racism.

The 325-year old central bank said it is reviewing its collection of images of past leaders to ensure none with any involvement remain on display anywhere in the bank.

“As an institution, the Bank of England was never itself directly involved in the slave trade, but is aware of some inexcusable connections involving former governors and directors and apologizes for them,” a spokesperson said.

The decision comes just hours after a report showed the BOE has managed to increase the proportion of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff occupying senior positions by just a single percentage point in four years, to 7%. That remains a long way behind its target of 13% by the end of 2022.

BOE to Remove Portraits of Governors Linked to Slave Trade

Despite former Governor Mark Carney putting diversity at the forefront of his agenda at the bank, the BOE has struggled to reach its self-imposed quotas for ethnic and gender diversity. Women now hold 32% of senior management roles, falling short of the year-end goal of 35%. The European Central Bank achieved its own target for top female bosses at the end of last year, though it fell short for all managers.

The BOE has however hit its goal of 20% BAME representation among staff below the highest management level. It also said it has reduced its pay gap for those employees to 11.3% on a mean basis, from 12.2% in 2019.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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