Complaint 1: A former American Bankers Association employee of 25 years is alleging that the trade group and some of its executives created a “boy’s club” atmosphere that discriminated against women and minorities on staff. Christine Walika filed a lawsuit last week claiming that she raised concerns about discriminatory and verbally abusive behavior by certain executives, and as a result, suffered hostile treatment and retaliation, which culminated in her firing. The ABA denied the accusations in a statement.
Complaint 2: As part of a review of how it handled an accusation of rape, UBS is also looking into a separate incident of sexual assault that involves a man who still works at its investment bank. A senior employee based in London allegedly put his hand up a woman‘s skirt during a work night out in the summer of 2017, the Financial Times reported. (An item about the UBS rape allegation appeared here in August, as regular readers may recall.)
One problem is that men don’t see a problem: Though men and women in the financial services industry agree on what the key gender issues are — lack of women in leadership and pay equity — men see less of a problem than women do. In a new survey of 971 industry executives, 68% of men said they expect the number of women in senior roles will increase in the next three years, but only 45% of women feel as confident. And 69% of men said they think their company pays men and women equally for the same job, compared with 28% of women. What do companies need to do to change the status quo? Set goals — or even quotas, some survey participants said — to ensure equal representation on the leadership team and board. See more from the survey conducted by Money 2020 and Visa here.
So on to the next phase of #MeToo: Now that “we’re in MeToo 2.0,” companies need to get more sophisticated in investigating accusations and acting on the results. So says Davia Temin, whose New York consulting firm specializes in crisis management and whose clients include most of the money-center banks in New York. Before the momentous New York Times article on Harvey Weinstein that set off the #MeToo movement, about 5% of her consulting work was related to sexual harassment; now it’s about 20%, including some boards who have hired her to help change their company’s culture before a scandal erupts. By Temin’s count, more than 900 people in entertainment, government and business have been accused of sexual harassment or assault over the past three years or so, all but 29 of them men. Temin keeps an index of the accusations that is widely viewed as the most comprehensive. It dates back to allegations against Bill Cosby in December 2015. But Temin said sexual harassment is far more prevalent than the public reports suggest. So much so that pre-Weinstein, “I think most women and men saw it as part of the landscape,” she said. Why did the widespread complacency suddenly end? Temin attributes the change to factors like the growth of social media and women‘s empowerment.
From the politics file
Her side hustle is by his side: Heidi Cruz talks in detail about being a political wife, including how she reconciled putting her career at Goldman Sachs on hold to support her husband Ted’s presidential campaign, in this profile by The Atlantic. She recounts that even her daughter Caroline, who was 7 at the time, advised her not to take a leave from Goldman to “help Dad.” “I tried to articulate, you know, ‘It’s actually for the country,'” Cruz said. “And she wanted to know, if we won, was the first lady paid?” When Cruz told her no, Caroline paused before answering, “That’s a bad deal for you.” Cruz, who is described here as being so polished she shines, has dealt with depression, jibes about her looks from the president and tabloid rumors. Now her husband is in the midst of yet another intense campaign, this time against Beto O’Rourke, the liberal darling vying for his Senate seat. The article, which aims to assess how she maintains a sense of self amid the circus atmosphere of politics, prompted some mocking of Cruz over a few comments she made, such as calling herself the family‘s “primary breadwinner.”
UNinterested: Dina Powell, a Goldman Sachs executive and former deputy national security adviser under President Trump, was said to be his top choice to replace Nikki Haley as U.N. ambassador, but withdrew her name from consideration. Trump said Saturday that he is interviewing three women and two men for the position and plans to choose someone quickly. Haley, a Republican star who has been critical of Trump at times, poked fun at him in a speech just days after her surprise announcement that she would resign at the end of the year. She also fired some sharp one-liners at Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
A series of opinions
Be innovative in hiring too: Two recruiters from the executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates offer their perspective on why banks are failing to diversify their senior ranks, despite stated intentions to do so. Too often bankers have a rigid idea about what a particular role requires, even though people from another industry like retail or technology have transferable skills that will allow them not only to succeed, but to infuse some fresh thinking into the organization, Jane Bird and Robert Voth said in their BankThink article. In recruiting for its card business, JPMorgan Chase has hired executives from PepsiCo, Kraft and Campbell’s. But the outcome of most executive searches — even when a diverse slate is requested and delivered — is a hire who comes from another bank and looks a lot like the person doing the hiring. Citing tactics that Carnival Cruise Lines and Amazon used to improve diversity, Bird and Voth urge bankers to think more innovatively and be brave enough to change.
Male allies need apply: LeeAnne Linderman has seen firsthand the crucial role that male leaders can play in women‘s progress in the workplace. In detailing some of her experiences with gender discrimination over the course of her working life in this highly personal account, the longtime Zions Bancorp. executive also thanked the male bosses who helped her navigate those situations and advance in her career. She said she teared up at a roundtable with retail banking executives from other companies when one of the men said the #MeToo movement prompted him to make some adjustments in the workplace, such as speaking up for women when they get interrupted in a meeting or when they are judged as “too abrasive.” She implored men not to give up on mentoring out of fear. Whether you call it ‘power’ or ‘influence,’ men in our industry have the majority of ‘it,'” said Linderman, who often ranked as one of our Most Powerful Women before she retired in August. “That is why men must own diversity and inclusion.”
Umpqua Bank in Portland, Ore., has recruited Käthe Anchel from Citibank to be its first head of innovation. Anchel had been director of product management at Citi FinTech, which is Citibank’s innovation unit in Silicon Valley. Her focus at Umpqua will be on “building internal innovation practices and external partnerships,” according to the bank, which, not long after the hire, announced it would sell its own Silicon Valley-based innovation unit. Kony, a digital banking software provider, is the buyer of Pivotus Ventures.
Diane Schumaker-Krieg, the global head of research, economics and strategy at Wells Fargo, plans to retire at he end of the year. The advancement of women in the workplace has been a focus for Schumaker-Kreig, who has ranked as one of our Most Powerful Women nine times. Last year, for instance, she co-wrote “The Girl with the Draggin’ W-2,” a research report that analyzed the U.S. gender wage gap.
Kate Richdale and Andrea Vella, Goldman Sachs’ investment banking chiefs in Asia, are being shifted out of management roles, amid a sprawling corruption probe that is likely to carry a large financial penalty. They will be replaced by Todd Leland, an adviser to European banks and asset managers who was tapped last year to help run Goldman‘s operations in Asia, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed sources.
How Duolingo did it: Duolingo, a site where users can learn other languages for free, recently tweeted that their new software engineer hires are evenly split by gender — 50% men and 50% women. After some responses to the tweet accused Duolingo of reverse discrimination, founder and Chief Executive Luis Von Ahn followed up, tweeting, “We achieved a 50% ratio not by lowering our standards or by discriminating against men. We did it by only actively recruiting from colleges with higher female ratios in their computer science programs. These were also not shitty colleges — CMU, MIT, Duke, Cornell, Harvard, etc.” He also said all of the female hires had perfect or near perfect GPAs. Why is the assumption that, if the result is parity, then the process must be unfair to men?
The message of the mammaries: That assumption is one actress Natalie Portman tackled in her speech at Variety’s Power of Women event recently. “Many men are behaving like we live in a zero-sum game. That if women get the respect, access and value we deserve, they will lose. But we know the message of the mammaries: The more milk you give, the more milk you make,” Portman said. “And the same can be said of fire. When you light someone else’s torch with your own, you don’t lose your fire, you just make more light and more heat.”