Wall Street could learn something from baseball, investment guru John W. Rogers Jr. said during Smith’s Diversity Fireside Chat on Oct. 9, 2015. “Major private equity firms have basically never had a Jackie Robinson moment,” he said.
Government agencies and other progressive organizations sometimes make an effort to hire diverse vendors, but these contractors tend to work in construction, food preparation, janitorial services and similar sectors of the economy. “Today, that’s where we’re being pigeonholed,” Rogers said.
He said corporate boards and executive teams have actually become less diverse during his career in Chicago, where he launched Ariel Investments in 1983 after graduating from Princeton University. Since then he has grown the firm’s portfolio to $11 billion.
During the fireside chat, moderated by professor Henry C. Boyd III, Smith’s diversity officer, Rogers urged organizations to close the gaps that persist. “These companies talk a great game,” he said. “But they’re not living the values they talk about.” /DJ/