Leading consulting firms speak up against racial injustice

10 June 2020 Consulting.us

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd died in police custody, sparking outrage and protests in the United States and across the globe. 

The incident reignited conversations around racial inequality and police violence, with individuals and organizations expressing solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement by attending protests in person or voicing their support on social media.

The consulting industry has likewise chimed in, with many major consulting firms not only posting messages of support online, but also taking active steps to promote inclusivity and fight discrimination.

A roundup of the responses of a number of leading international consulting firms:

Deloitte

Joe Ucuzoglu, CEO of Deloitte US tweeted:

“No words can describe the anger and hurt all of us are feeling. Silence is unacceptable. Deloitte is deeply committed to inclusion and stands against the legacy of systemic bias, racism and unequal treatment that continues to plague our communities.”

Ucuzoglu and Janet Foutty, Chair of the Board at Deloitte US also published a note to their colleagues on LinkedIn, explaining the action that the firm plans to take.

“We have each made a meaningful personal donation today to organizations that are committed to bringing about social justice and repairing our communities. Our commitment to you is that we’ll be back in touch, shortly, with specificity as to the plan we will execute to ensure Deloitte is leading the change we want to see. Words, emails, and donations don’t suffice,” read the note.

EY

EY posted a black square on Twitter for Blackout Tuesday, alongside the message:

“Building a better working world means creating one that is fair and just for all. EY is committed to being an agent of change, standing against racism and discrimination. #BlackoutTuesday.”

Kelly Grier, US Chair and Managing Partner and Americas Managing Partner at EY also shared a note on LinkedIn, expressing support and indicating steps that the firm will be taking in the near future.

“I am deeply saddened by the racism that exists and the escalating tensions unfolding all around us. The depths of injustice and tragedy inflicted on the black community is unbearable. It’s not enough to be not racist – we need to speak out and take action against racism and discrimination. Said more explicitly: we need to be ANTI-RACIST,” she said.

“In the coming days and weeks, I will share the actions that we will be taking to strengthen our internal position on eradicating racism and discrimination. You’ll hear about what we’re doing to drive positive change externally, leveraging our powerful platform on policy matters and those we do business with. And you’ll hear how we’re going to direct our community support to challenge some of the systemic impediments to truly moving past these intractable issues for the underprivileged ,” added Grier.

KPMG

Paul Knopp, Chairman & CEO-elect at KPMG US, tweeted:

“The time for racial equity is overdue. I expect to be held personally accountable for tangible change. Here, I reflect on the role KPMG will play in driving this change for our Black professionals and Black communities.”

Lynne Doughtie, US Chairman and current CEO at KPMG also tweeted:

“I, and KPMG’s leadership team, stand united with our Black colleagues in speaking up against acts of racism, bigotry, and hate. They have no place at KPMG. We will not only speak up, we will also act. Here are some of the immediate steps we are taking.”

The pair posted a note on LinkedIn, which put forth a six-point plan of action to combat racial inequity. This includes a commitment of $500,000 from the KPMG Foundation to support community efforts that are fighting racism.

PwC

Tim Ryan, US Chair and Senior Partner at PwC US tweeted:

“Bo Jean, Michael Brown, Jemel Roberson, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, Alton Sterling, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Ahmaud Arbery and now #GeorgeFloyd and countless others. We must continue to fight for justice and to end racism.”

Ryan also posted on LinkedIn to describe PwC’s actions to combat racism. He put forth a six-point plan for tackling racial injustice and inequality, in which he pledged $250,000 each to The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., Dream Corps., The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation and The Center for Policing Equity.

PwC also posted a black square for  #BlackoutTuesday.

McKinsey & Company

McKinsey & Company tweeted:

“We stand with our black colleagues, their families, friends and communities. The killing of George Floyd, and the many appalling events that have come before cannot be ignored. There is no place for racism, prejudice or hatred. Period.”

Kevin Sneader, Global Managing Partner at McKinsey & Company, posted a video message to his colleagues, describing the firm’s commitment to fighting inequality.

“We have a lot of grief in our community at the moment. I know that from the emails that I have seen. And I want to express how hard & heartfelt this moment is felt by so many of us. But I also want to say you are not alone, we stand with you, we stand behind you, but we also stand in front of you, with the power of what we can do together. And I know that we can make a difference,” he said.

Boston Consulting Group

The firm tweeted for Blackout Tuesday, stating:

“Our BCG channels will go on pause to create more space for the voices of our Black community to be heard and for the rest of us, as allies, to take action and educate ourselves to create a better, inclusive future.”

Global CEO at BCG Rich Lesser posted a message to the BCG US team on LinkedIn, which read:

“Even more than words right now, we need action. At BCG, we will continue to listen, educate ourselves, speak-up, talk openly, and work hard to help put an end to racism and injustice in our communities every day.”

“As a community, we can show empathy and support for our colleagues as they struggle to make sense of this and wrestle with their own anxieties. As a firm, we can use our capabilities, access, and influence to make this a better world – in building a stronger public sector, and in helping businesses (including our own) to step up efforts in diversity and inclusion.”

“As a collection of exceptional, values-oriented individuals, we can hope to help society move toward a more just world, with leaders passionately committed to creating opportunity, equality and a better life for all Americans. I’ll continue collaborating with Joe Davis, North American Leaders, and our Black+Latinx Network leaders as we find ways to further our commitments and double down on activities,” he added.

Bain & Company

Manny Maceda, Worldwide Managing Partner at Bain & Company posted a letter to colleague’s on the firm’s website, which read:

“This past week the world in which we live and work cracked … once again; our world cannot seem to break the scourge of racism. The ugliness and the disregard for decency, concern, and understanding was back in force for the world to see … because too many look at skin color and ignore the human being. Words hurt, exclusion hurts, and it is clear that actions hurt, including the loss of life in the most egregious of ways. The protests around the world share that pain. We have colleagues, Bainies, who feel this pain in ways many of us will never comprehend.”

Bain & Company put forth a seven-point plan to promote racial and social equity, including a commitment of $100 million in pro-bono support over the next half-decade.

On Blackout Tuesday, the firm tweeted with the message:

“It’s not business as usual. We will be pausing our social feeds for 24 hours in solidarity with the #BlackoutTuesday movement. We stand with you and we’re listening,”

Accenture

Accenture tweeted:

“We continue to stand with the African American/Black community and refuse to accept racism, intolerance and inequality in our workplaces and communities.”

Julie Sweet CEO of Accenture tweeted:

“There’s a time when words are not enough, and that time is now. I’m sharing actions we’re taking to fight racism inside and outside of Accenture, create more opportunities for our communities of color and take a stronger leadership role in our communities.”

She set September 1 as a deadline to implement a number of measures including more diverse recruitment and training.

Nellie Borrero, Managing Director at Accenture and Senior Global Inclusion & Diversity Lead posted on LinkedIn with seven themes to consider when speaking out against racial inequality.

“The issue of racism and recent racially motivated incidents are often hard for people to talk about. However, to be completely silent, is really loud. For our society to change we need everyone’s voice. I understand, that sometimes finding the right words to say is not easy.

“Let’s continue to engage, leverage our voices, energy, and power to solve for Equality! All of us play a role, no matter how big or small.”

FTI Consulting

Steven Gunby, Chief Executive Officer of FTI Consulting tweeted on Blackout Tuesday:

“Words have enormous import during this time because they help capture the depth of emotion that so many of us are feeling. Having said that, it is essential going forward to make sure it is not words alone, but rather that words get translated into fundamental and lasting improvement. We at FTI Consulting make that commitment.” 

Kearney

Alex Liu, Managing Partner at Kearney posted a message to colleagues titled ‘We see you. We stand with you.” It read:

“I have spoken with several colleagues and clients over the past week, and am moved by their understandably raw and inconsolable emotions of anger, outrage, despair, and helplessness. Kearney is committed to expanding support programs for the near and longer-term, but nothing can replace supportive outreach at this specific time.”

“We can all be allies for solidarity and inclusion, and against intolerance, whether it be anti-religion, anti-gender, anti-immigrant, anti-ethnicity, anti-race. There is far too much of all that evil, hate, and bigotry in this supposedly modern, civilized world.”

Oliver Wyman

Terry Stone, Managing Partner for Oliver Wyman’s Health & Life Sciences Practice tweeted:

“We all have a call to action. It is now clear to me that if we are not actively Anti-Racism, then we are part of the problem.”

Managing Partner for Consumer, Industrial and Services Practices at the firm Nick Studer and Engagement Manager at Oliver Wyman Will Cairms posted the same message of solidarity on LinkedIn, which read:

“Who am I?
I am a friend and a teammate
I am listening and learning
I am looking for ways to support”

Simon-Kucher & Partners

Simon-Kucher & Partners leadership team wrote a letter to its US team, which read:

"The recent events that have unfolded across the US this past week have been laying heavily on many of us. There have been horrific acts of racism and violence which have taken the lives of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and so many others before them. For some of us, these events are right outside our front doors and for others they are a little farther away. Regardless of where they are, we cannot ignore the core message at hand and we must find a way forward in unity to solve critical issues that face our country."

AlixPartners

AlixPartners CEO Simon Freakley posted a note to his employees on LinkedIn, which read:

“Our colleagues are experiencing sadness, anger, fear, and frustration. As a global community, AlixPartners will stand shoulder to shoulder in support, in resolve, and in peaceful protest. Together, we will not relent in having our voices heard and demanding change. Please know that I am with you every step of the way, and stay safe."

"We are stronger together. Change will come."

Grant Thornton

Grant Thornton tweeted:

“We share our support for racial equality in solidarity with the Black community and in memory of #GeorgeFloyd. Together is how we move forward. Together is how we make change.”

Brad Preber, CEO at Grant Thornton, wrote a letter to “clients and neighbors” with the message:

“Grant Thornton has been shocked and saddened by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the civil unrest that has followed in cities around our country. While many of us cannot truly understand the depth of frustration and anger our Black teammates, friends and neighbors are feeling, we do know racism and injustice when we see it. The killing of George Floyd is only the latest chapter in a shameful history of unequal treatment of Black people in the U.S., and it should offend every American who believes in the founding ideals of our nation.

"At Grant Thornton, we have been working to build a diverse and inclusive firm and culture in a broad variety of ways. We will accelerate and intensify this work going forward. The charge for action is inescapable, and it falls to all of us."

BDO

BDO tweeted for Blackout Tuesday with the message:

“The injustices facing the Black community are intolerable and deeply troubling. Making a difference demands that we choose humanity over hatred and empathy over apathy. Change starts in our own offices, in our homes & in our communities. We must do this together. #BlackOutTuesday.”


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