Credit Suisse Promises to Increase Black Staff After Criticism

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The first major European bank to employ a Black chief executive officer acknowledged it needs to do more on diversity after drawing fire over racial insensitivity.

Credit Suisse Group AG is seeking to double senior Black staff and increase representation in the workforce overall by 50% by 2024, the bank said in a statement on Thursday. It will also “further expand our existing targets for gender globally” and make anti-bias and inclusive leadership training a requirement for all staff.

The Swiss lender came under fire for alleged racial insensitivity earlier this month when The New York Times reported on events at a Zurich birthday party for Chairman Urs Rohner last November. Then-Chief Executive Officer Tidjane Thiam left the event after a Black performer came on stage dressed as a janitor and began to dance to music while sweeping the floor, the newspaper reported, adding that the festivities had a Studio 54 theme, with 1970s costumes.

Credit Suisse apologized, though it said the report was “a total mis-characterization” of the event.

The bank on Thursday also nominated Clare Brady and Blythe Masters for its supervisory board. The two women will stand for election at the annual general meeting scheduled for April.

“Credit Suisse is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion for all our employees and to cultivating a culture where all employees feel that they belong and can thrive,” the bank said in the statement. “We are now building on those commitments to ensure that our workforce truly reflects society with a broader, more resilient team.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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