Hoffman Questions Facebook's Rebranding: Equality Summit Update
(Bloomberg) -- Two years into a pandemic, global leaders are gathering at the two-day Bloomberg Equality Summit to take stock of the damage to the global economy and chart a way forward toward greater equality for all. On Tuesday, executives from Citigroup Inc. and Banco Santander SA gave the executive perspective on LGBTQ rights. Leaders from KKR, Blackstone Strategic Partners, and Northern Trust Asset Management discussed ways to get more diversity in the Wall Street pipeline. And crypto officials said they must reduce the dominance of white males in their industry.
Nobel Winner Ressa Seeks New Laws to Curb Disinformation (2:30 p.m. NY)
Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa called for greater global regulation of technology companies to curb disinformation, as she criticized Facebook Inc. for being “biased against facts.”
“This is like an atom bomb exploded in our information ecosystem because we can’t tell facts from fiction,” Ressa said in an interview for Bloomberg Live’s Equality Summit. “How do we put the genie back in the bottle? I think legislation, that’s first.”
Ressa, co-founder of Philippine digital medial company Rappler, cited the U.K.’s Online Safety Bill as an example of regulation that makes technology companies more accountable, but cautioned that passing such laws can take years.
LinkedIn’s Hoffman Questions Facebook Metaverse Ambitions (1:31 p.m. NY)
LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman questioned Facebook Inc.’s ambitions to build the metaverse, with so many other pressing challenges to deal with. "Is that a transition that will also help on these issues?” said Hoffman, referring to scrutiny over social media’s affect on the mental health of its young users, as well as reports of extremism and sex trafficking on the platforms.
Facebook on Monday emphasized its commitment to building out the metaverse, which is an immersive digital environment accessed using virtual and augmented reality tools.
Crypto Faces Same Diversity Problems as Fintech (1:25 p.m. NY)
Crypto trading executives said there is more work to be done to make sure the industry increases diversity.
“The fintech, crypto space has obviously historically been primarily White males,” Blair Halliday, head of UK at Gemini. “There is a lot more to be done to increase representation across leadership and executive levels.”
Deidra McIntyre, founding administrator of Black People & Cryptocurrency said, “I think we're facing the same challenges that occurred during the early dot-com boom. If you look at the number of startup companies, they’re still tremendously cisgender White males who hire other cisgender White males.”
A Few Concrete Stats from Asset Managers on Improving Diversity on Wall Street (12:50 p.m. NY)
Shundrawn Thomas, President of Northern Trust Asset Management said when he started as an executive, the team had almost no “diversity” — including women. Now two thirds of his team are either women or people of color, he said.
“Today we have singularly, I believe, one of the most diverse teams in asset management,” Thomas said.
In its push to increase representation, Blackstone Inc.’s Verdun Perry said the company is now recruiting from 44 schools, many of them Historically Black Colleges and Universities, up from 19 in 2015. That includes his alma matter Morehouse College.
KKR’s Suzanne Donohoe said her focus is on the firm’s portfolio companies, which together employ 700,000 people, to ensure that boards include both women and people of color. As of last August, about 30% of all directors on the boards of KKR-owned American companies were women or ethnic minorities.
“Once the boards are more well represented that will also drive progress in the C-suite, it will drive progress through the middle of those organizations and ultimately that is one of the greatest impacts we can have on economic mobility,” she said.
Bank Executives Split on How Much They Should Talk About LGBTQ Issues (10:30 a.m. NY)
Banking executives expressed differing views on how much they should speak out on LGBTQ issues. Paco Ybarra, chief executive officer of institutional clients group at Citigroup Inc., said executives should represent the culture and values of their organization.
“I very rarely talk about LGBT issues actually,” said António Simões, regional head of Europe at Banco Santander. Simões said he leads by living “authentically,” doing things like telling his personal story or wearing a pride pin.
Dame Inga Beale, the chairperson of Mediclinic International Plc and a former chief executive of Lloyds of London Ltd. said people have to be pushed out of their comfort zone. “Unless someone is actually forcing people to take on these tasks, they may not volunteer” because they don’t feel comfortable, she said.
CEOs Walk Fine Line in Speaking Out on Social Justice and Politics (9:50 a.m. NY)
CEOs need to take a leadership role in politics and policy where they can have an influence, Fitterling said. Dow has lobbied to support LGBTQ rights in marriage, health care, and taxes.
But Ford said CEOs shouldn’t take a stand on everything. “We weigh in when we can move the ball forward,” she said. “Not everyone wants to hear my point of view or the companies on every issue.”
Fitterling, Beale Say More Employees Are Self-Identifying as LGBTQ (9:27 a.m. NY)
As more companies try to improve their diversity and inclusion, they lack visibility into LGBTQ workers, panelists said Tuesday.
At Lloyds of London, initially only about 10% of employees would fill out annual surveys on whether they identified as LGBTQ, said Beale. But once she started talking about it as a leader, Beale got 90% of workers to fill out the information.
“The more you had the data and showed how you were using it, the more people were giving the data,” Beale said. Dow CEO Jim Fitterling said he’s seen a growing trend of his employees self-identifying as LGBTQ.
The challenge with collecting data on sexual orientation or gender identity is that it requires self-identification, which can be risky, especially for people in countries or regions where LGBTQ people still face open discrimination, said Fitterling.
“There are still risks out there in the environment. We have to walk very carefully,” he said.
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