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Synchrony Sets Up Task Force to Address Racial Equality at Firm

Jenny Surane

(Bloomberg) -- Synchrony Financial formed a committee of senior leaders from throughout the firm to establish goals for improving minority representation across its workforce and create partnerships with diverse suppliers and customers.

The group, led by President Brian Doubles, was set up after Synchrony hosted multiple companywide meetings in recent weeks that centered on discussions about race and inequality. Doubles said much of his time this month has been spent on those topics and that the committee plans to meet multiple times a week.

The task force “really ensures the topic remains front and center for us,” he said in an interview. “It also ensures a level of intensity and focus. We’re going to organize around this differently.”

Executives across finance and other industries have spent the past month addressing racial discrimination in corporate America and throughout society following public outcry after the killings of African Americans including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, which have led to nationwide protests and growing awareness of systemic racism in America.

The Synchrony committee’s first task will be to develop goals and metrics. One focus is improving representation of African Americans and other under-represented minorities across the employee base, Doubles said. The company also plans to set goals for greater investment in minority-owned startups through its venture-capital arm and ensure it has partnerships with diverse suppliers.

Synchrony, based in Stamford, Connecticut, has long had diversity metrics as part of its firm-wide goals, and 45% of the workforce is ethnically diverse. The company also says it has the most diverse board among Fortune 200 financial-services companies, with four minority and four female directors.

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