FILE PHOTO: American International Group Inc. (AIG) headquarters seen on the day of the companyÕs 2017 annual shareholder meeting at 175 Water Street, New York, U.S.,  June 28, 2017.  REUTERS/Suzanne Barlyn
FILE PHOTO: American International Group Inc. (AIG) headquarters seen in New York

American International Group has lost four Black executives in recent weeks, including Vievette Henry, who was head of global inclusion, Bloomberg reported.
Walter Hurdle, who ran diversity efforts and was in charge of early-career recruiting, told Bloomberg he was “informed that my role was eliminated, and that’s all I have to say.”
The departures come months after AIG pledged to improve diversity in the company following the killing of George Floyd.
Only 1.5% of AIG’s senior leaders were Black in 2018, and more than 85% were white.
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Four Black executives have reportedly left the insurance giant American International Group (AIG) in recent weeks, including two that were responsible for improving diversity within the firm.

Global inclusion head Vievette Henry is leaving the insurer along with Walter Hurdle, who ran diversity efforts and was in charge of early-career recruiting, people familiar with the departures told Bloomberg.

Christina Lucas, AIG’s senior vice president, and former marketing and communications chief Ed Dandridge both left AIG in early September, the report said. Dandridge became chief communications officer at Boeing, while Lucas confirmed her departure in a LinkedIn post, but did not mention where she would work next.

AIG didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

In a phone call with Bloomberg, Hurdle said he was “informed that my role was eliminated, and that’s all I have to say.” The three other former executives declined to comment or didn’t respond to Bloomberg when contacted.

The departures come months after AIG promised to improve the diversity of its leadership teams following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May. CEO Brian Duperreault said in a letter to AIG employees in June that the insurance company has “made strides at AIG to build a diverse and inclusive global team of professionals, but we know there is still much work to be done.”

A 2018 report showed that only 1.5% of AIG’s senior officials and executives were Black, while more than 85% were white.

Bloomberg reported that when top executive positions in AIG opened, Dandridge and Henry were not able to land the roles. Henry is being replaced by Ronald Reeves, who has worked at AIG for over 20 years and is also Black, according to a memo seen by Bloomberg.

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US housing marketadamkaz/Getty Images

US home mortgage delinquencies surged to the highest level since November 2011, according to a Monday report from Black Knight. 
Total borrowers more than 30 days late skyrocketed to 4.3 million in May from 3.4 million in April, the report showed. 
In addition, more than 8% of all US mortgages were past due or in foreclosure, according to Black Knight.
Read more on Business Insider. 

The number of US home mortgage delinquencies has surged to the highest level in nine years as the coronavirus pandemic continues to hit family finances. 

Total borrowers more than 30 days late surged to 4.3 million in May after a record jump to 3.4 million in April, according to a Monday report from Black Knight. In addition, more than 8% of all US mortgages were either past due or in foreclosure, the report showed. See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Are You Building A Brand Of Contradictions?

As brands continue to try and navigate a world of awakening and change, its clear they are on a learning journey. With plenty of opportunities to learn, from women’s rights, climate change, homelessness, immigration, and now racial equality. It’s impossible to be against any of these issues. So why do brands feel the need to state the obvious?

As Mark Ritson writes in a scathing and powerful MarketingWeek article, “We marketers live in a branding bubble of our own creation. We think brands matter. That our brand matters. We think advertising is important. We think other people care. And with each passing year our branding bubble appears to become less and less transparent. An increasing proportion of marketers lose touch with the consumers they are meant to take their coordinates from, and fall for the bullsh*t that their brands and their communications make any kind of difference to society at large – and that this impact is a crucial part of their job.”

I think brands matter a great deal. But I also think actions speak louder than words, or inexpensive GIFs that can be spun up in seconds and posted to social media with little effort and even less accountability. Let’s look at some examples:

Joining a chorus of brands, Amazon statement said that “inequitable and brutal treatment of Black people in our country must stop” and promised to “stand in solidarity with the Black community—our employees, customers, and partners—in the fight against systemic racism and injustice.” But what about that time they fired a black contractor for asking about the Coronavirus? Or that time they tried to smear a warehouse organizer as “not smart or articulate.”

A Vice article shares how Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi tweeted something similar, stating the company “stands in solidarity with the Black community and with peaceful protests against the injustice and racism that have plagued our nation for too long.” To that end, he announced a $1 million donation to two racial justice think tanks “to support their work in making criminal justice in America more just for all.” Yet in the background, Uber is fighting legislation that would reclassify their workforce and entitle them to benefits such as health insurance and minimum wage. With a large number of minorities comprising the workforce, how solid is that solidarity?

Ritson’s article in MarketingWeek includes numerous examples of our most highly cherished brands: Apple, Nike, Adidas, Spotify, L’Oreal – each of which has professed strong alignment to the movement for racial justice, even donating money to associated causes, yet all of their senior leadership remains white. Riston clarifies, “I am not saying that companies have to have black people in their leadership teams as a general policy. But if you believe what you are telling the market about black voices, it should start with switching out some of your white executives in your upper echelons for executives of color. Not because these people are bad. Not because you have to encourage more diversity in the boardroom. But because you are claiming to care about black issues and black representation – so do something meaningful about it.”

In a tweet, writer and brand strategist Vikki Ross shares how she answered one of her clients who asked “should we change our logo?” with a series of pointed questions that’s worth reading, internalizing and spending some time thinking upon:

Do you support the cause? Or do you want to look like you do?
Do you always support the cause? Or do you support the cause when it is trending?
If you change your logo to support the cause, when do you change it back?
When you change your logo back, don’t you support the cause anymore?
If you can change your logo back, when will you do it?
What happens if another cause is trending? Do you change your logo again?
How do you keep up with showing support for every cause? What if you miss one?
If you keep changing your logo, what is your logo?
Should you just always do what feels like the right thing at the time? Assuming your business is always doing the right thing, whether it promotes it via its logo or not.

Yes, these are challenging times. #blackouttuesday would have been better if brands had just gone dark, and listened, and thought about the changes they will or won’t make, before rushing to deploy content and messaging. We know there is hurt, and we know most of the people on this planet want to do something to make the hurt less. But we need to remember that actions speak louder than words.

Like people, brands need to be the change they profess to want to see.

The Blake Project Can Help: Avoid contradictions. Think it through in The Brand Positioning Workshop

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Growth and Brand Education

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black ceo fortune 500 4x3Tapestry; Jim Spellman/WireImage/Getty; Mark Sagliocco/WireImage; Bennett Raglin/Getty; Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

The only four black CEOs of Fortune 500 companies have each addressed the recent death of George Floyd.
Nearly all say that to them, everything going on feels personal. 
Merck & Co. CEO Kenneth Frazier spoke with CNBC on June 1 and said that Floyd “could be me.”
Lowe’s CEO Marvin Ellison said he has a “personal understanding of the fear and frustration” many people are feeling during this time. 
Meanwhile, TIAA CEO Roger Ferguson Jr. said he was “outraged” by the recent events, and Tapestry CEO Jide Zeitlin spoke about how irreplaceable human life is. 
Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

There are only four black professionals among the leaders of America’s largest 500 companies. Now, they’re speaking out about systemic racism and inequality following the killing of George Floyd.

Merck & Co. CEO Kenneth Frazier, Lowe’s CEO Marvin Ellison, and Tapestry CEO Jide Zeitlin spoke about how “personal” the recent events have felt to them as black men, while TIAA CEO Roger Ferguson Jr. said he was “outraged” by the recent events of police brutality against black Americans. 

Here’s exactly how each responded to Floyd’s death and the growing civil unrest in America.

Roger Ferguson Jr., CEO of TIAA (Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America)
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

In a statement given to CNN, Roger Ferguson said he was “outraged by the recent incidents of racism, violence, and police brutality against members of the African American community.”

“The haunting video of Mr. Floyd’s last breaths is a sobering reflection of this national crisis,” he continued. “No group should ever be targeted for racism, harassment, or other forms of discrimination.

“Particularly with the pandemic issues we are confronting in 2020, this is a time when we must embrace our differences and become more inclusive,” he told CNN.

Ferguson joined TIAA in 2008, Business Insider previously reported

On May 29, Ferguson and TIAA’s Executive Committee also sent a letter to employees that said the deaths of Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor “bring to the light the fear, inequality, and concerns of racism that still pose a threat to our humanity.” 

Source: CNN

Kenneth Frazier, CEO of pharmaceutical company Merck & Co.
Stephanie Keith / Stringer / Getty Images

Kenneth Frazier is the CEO of the $190 billion pharmaceutical company Merck & Co., Business Insider previously reported. 

On June 1, Frazier spoke to CNBC about the death of George Floyd and said Floyd “could be me.”

“What the African American community sees in that videotape is that this African American man, who could be me or any other African American man, is being treated as less than human,” he said.

“Even though we don’t have laws that separate people on the basis of race anymore, we still have customs, we still have beliefs, we still have policies and practices that lead to inequities,” he added. 

Frazier joined Merck & Co. in 1992. He held various positions, including general counsel and president, before being appointed CEO in 2011.

“I know for sure that what put my life on a different trajectory was that someone intervened to give me an opportunity, to close that opportunity gap,” he said. “And that opportunity gap is still there.”

Source: Business Insider

Marvin Ellison, CEO of retail home improvement chain Lowe’s
Courtesy of Lowe’s

On May 30, Marvin Ellison wrote an open letter to his team, in which he recalled growing up in the segregated South. In the letter, he said he has “personal understanding of the fear and frustration” many people are feeling during this time. 

Ellison was appointed CEO of Lowe’s in 2018 and was previously the CEO of  J. C. Penney, Business Insider previously reported.

Ellison also encouraged people to join together to combat and solve racism, and vowed that Lowe’s would provide its team leaders with resources to support employees and their communities.

“To overcome the challenges that we all face, we must use our voices and demand that ignorance and racism must come to an end,” he said. “This is a time to come together, to support one another and, through partnership, begin to heal.”

Ellison shared the letter on Twitter. Read it in full here:

Tweet Embed: //twitter.com/mims/statuses/1266899923259265025?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw My wife & I feel tremendous sadness as our hearts & prayers are with the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor & all communities ripped apart by violence. As the father of a young black male, I can only imagine their pain & emptiness. Sharing my company message: pic.twitter.com/JTQaLUAC9W

 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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The 15 highest-paid celebrities in the world, rankedThe most powerful passports in the world in 2020, rankedHow billionaires are responding to the George Floyd protests

SEE ALSO: Kamala Harris’ niece wants to inspire the next generation of social activists

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