Over 25% of Walmart executives are people of color, new report finds

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By Chauncey Alcorn, CNN Business

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story and headline incorrectly stated that Walmart hadn’t recently hired any people of color to fill leadership or board vacancies. Walmart has, in fact, hired several people of color for these roles over the past few months. A previous version of this story also incorrectly stated that Dacona Smith was the newest African-American executive to join Walmart’s leadership team. In fact, at least two African-American officers, including John Wigneswaran and Jennifer R. Jackson, were hired more recently. The story and title have been corrected and updated with additional context.

People of color made up more than 55% of new hires at Walmart between February and July this year and now hold more than 25% of the retailer’s leadership positions, according to the company’s website and its latest diversity report. , equity and inclusion published on Friday. .

That includes at least two African-American officers who joined the company this summer, the company confirmed on Saturday. Chief medical officer Dr John Wigneswaran in July became one of the latest black executives or senior managers to be hired by Walmart.

In June, Walmart also hired Capitol One Canada President Jennifer R. Jackson, who became Walmart’s newest senior vice president of corporate strategy, mergers and acquisitions and strategic partnerships. In November, Walmart hired Dr. Cheryl Pegus, as executive vice president of health and wellness.

Walmart says it has worked harder in recent years to increase diversity at its highest levels. Company President and CEO Doug McMillon addressed the issue of racial inequality during one of Walmart’s virtual employee meetings following the killing of George Floyd over 100 years ago. a year.

“The murder of George Floyd is tragic, painful and unacceptable,” McMillon told the global population of Walmart employees in June 2020. “Words and feelings matter, but they are not enough. More action is needed. We will find new ways to accelerate desired change within our business and we will also find ways in which our business can influence real change in our country.

Walmart is America’s largest private employer by far, with more than 2 million employees on its global payroll, including 1.5 million in the United States alone, according to the company’s latest diversity report, equity and inclusion. Amazon is far behind, with 798,000 employees as recently as 2019, according to Fortune.

McMillon said in June 2020 that about 340,000 of Walmart employees are black. The company’s latest report confirms that as of last July, more than 20% of its employees were black. African Americans also make up the largest segment of non-white employees in Walmart’s workforce, despite making up just 11.9% of the US population in 2020, according to the latest US Census.

About 9% of Walmart executives are African American, the company’s latest demographics confirm, but Walmart says that’s up about 2.3% from the same time last year.

“While we are encouraged by the growth of our black and African American representation on our leadership team, we recognize that we are on a journey and still have work to do,” the spokesperson said Saturday. from Walmart, Jami Lamontagne, to CNN Business.

Black members of Walmart’s leadership team also include Executive Vice President of Neighborhood Markets Kelvin L. Buncum, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Culture, Diversity, Equity and including Ben Hasan and Dacona Smith, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Walmart US.

Latinos make up nearly 18% of Walmart’s employee population, but only 5.5% of company executives, according to the report. Asians, who represent more than 4% of the brand’s employees, represent more than 10% of its managers and 9% of its leaders. In August, Anshu Bhardwaj was promoted to senior vice president of technology strategy and merchandising within Walmart’s global technology team.

White people make up more than 53% of Walmart’s workforce, and they make up more than 63% of its managers and 74% of its executives.

The DEI report also says people of color make up more than 46% of Walmart’s workforce, but the company’s website shows black and brown Americans make up only about 16.7% of the board. Board of Directors of 12 members of Walmart.

Retired AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stevenson, who is white, joined Walmart’s board of directors in March. He is the only director of Walmart’s board of directors appointed since the police killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, which motivated Walmart leaders to create a $100 million racial equity agenda. less than two weeks later.

AT&T is the parent company of WarnerMedia, which owns CNN.

NBCUniversal News Group Chairman Cesar Conde is the only Latin American to serve on Walmart’s board. He and Morgan Stanley vice president of wealth management Carla A. Lewis, who is black, are the only people of color on Walmart’s board.

People of color saw an uptick in promotions from hourly employees to leadership positions, which rose more than two percentage points between January and July, according to Walmart’s 2020 DEI year-end report.

Last October, the Executive Leadership Council, a nonprofit organization that works to increase the number of black executives in American companies, presented Walmart with its 2020 Corporate Award honoring “companies that value and reward contributions, talents and leadership of black employees”.

In its latest DEI report, Walmart highlighted the marginal gains women have made at the officer level, as well as the May launch of its Accessibility Center of Excellence, designed to advance equity and inclusion. people with disabilities.

Walmart was also one of 24 companies that commissioned global consulting firm McKinsey & Co. to research the challenges black Americans face in the private sector.

“This further reinforces the importance of resolving these complex systemic issues through our internal people processes,” Walmart executive vice president and chief human resources officer Donna Morris said in the report.

The study determined that “level of education has an outsized impact” on the employment gap faced by African Americans. Walmart announced it would cover 100% of its workers’ tuition about six months after the McKinsey study was released.

“While we have made progress, we still have work to do,” the company told CNN Business Friday via email.

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