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BlackRock: Diversity as a Driver for Success

In July 2014, the Global Executive Committee (GEC) for BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, held a two-day offsite to discuss the state of talent within the firm. A year prior, in 2013, Chairman and CEO Laurence (Larry) Fink had asked Global Head of HR Jeff Smith to outline to the GEC the firm's Diversity and Inclusion efforts, benchmarking its progress against eight practices associated with building more inclusive cultures. At the July 2014 off-site, Smith and Kara Helander, Global Head of Philanthropy and Diversity and Inclusion (D&I), provided a summary of the firm's journey to date and an update on its progress. The message from Fink at the July meeting was clear: the firm needed to do more. This message was also reinforced by the Board who wanted to see an increase in diversity in succession plans and leadership ranks. Smith and his team needed to work with the GEC to lead the change. They needed to decide: What needed to be done next? What were the key areas that needed the most improvement? What were the greatest challenges and opportunities facing the firm, and how could D&I initiatives help address them? What actions needed to be taken to meet the request from Fink and the Board?


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