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Fink Promises 30% More Black Employees at BlackRock by 2024

Annie Massa

(Bloomberg) -- BlackRock Inc. made one of the money-management industry’s boldest statements yet on racial diversity.

The world’s largest asset manager is committed to increasing its Black workforce by 30% by 2024, according to a LinkedIn blog post from Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink on Monday, as global protests pressure American companies to increase diversity in their management ranks. The firm will double its portion of senior leaders who are Black from its current 3% share, Fink wrote.

“We need to do better,” Fink wrote. “We must use our voice and work with others to advocate for change within our industry and across society more broadly.”

Corporate America is wrestling with its role in racial inequality. Fink was among the executives who spoke out after George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was killed when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. BlackRock endorsed legislation against hate crimes in the U.S. state of Georgia, where another Black man, Ahmaud Arbery, was killed while jogging.

BlackRock’s workforce is currently 5% Black, according to the company. It employs more than 16,000 people worldwide.

Fink also said in the post that the firm would increase partnerships with minority businesses and create new investing products that focus on racial equality across its active and passive fund suites.

As protests have stretched on for weeks, companies have come under pressure to go beyond statements sympathetic to the Black Lives Matter movement, and to take action.

John Rogers, co-CEO of Ariel Investments, likened the national mood to 1968, when riots broke out after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. Rogers said that companies must “really execute” on diversity plans, in a discussion of racial and economic justice at the Bloomberg Invest Global virtual event on Monday.

BlackRock will donate $5 million to organizations focused on improving racial equality, and create a $5 million fund to support Black and Latinx social entrepreneurs, Fink wrote.

(Updates with workforce data in fifth paragraph. A previous version was corrected to show that the Black workforce will increase by 30%.)

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