Microsoft says the U.S. Labor Department is scrutinizing its efforts to boost Black employment and leadership at the tech company

Microsoft says the U.S. Labor Department is scrutinizing its efforts to boost Black employment and leadership at the tech company.

Microsoft disclosed in a blog post Tuesday that it received a letter from the agency last week asking about the company’s June pledge to double the number of Black and African American managers, senior individual contributors and senior leaders by 2025.

“The letter asked us to prove that the actions we are taking to improve opportunities are not illegal race-based decisions,” said Dev Stahlkopf, Microsoft’s general counsel. “Emphatically, they are not.”

CEO Satya Nadella made the June hiring commitment in response to Black Lives Matter protests around the country and as part of a broader message to employees about racial injustice and promoting a culture of inclusivity at the Redmond, Washington-based company.

It’s not uncommon for tech companies to publicly tout efforts to increase staff diversity, given the industry’s longstanding dearth of Black, Latino and female workers in technical and leadership positions. But this time they are running into scrutiny by a Trump administration that has sought to intervene with universities and other institutions over their approach to race and discrimination.

In a statement sent to The Associated Press, the Labor Department said it “appreciates Microsoft’s assurance on its

It’s been said before, but it is worth saying again: diversity pays — but not in terms of checking boxes and tokenism. In a new report from the UCLA-based Center for Scholars and Storytellers titled “Beyond Checking A Box: A Lack of Authentically Inclusive Representation Has Costs at the Box Office”, researchers found that bringing authentic diversity to film improves financial performance at the box office while a lack of diversity can result in losses for studios.

Films like the Latino-fronted Pixar animated pic Coco, Marvel Studios’ Black Panther and Warner Bros’ Crazy Rich Asians proved that racially diverse casts can bring in highly profitable grosses at the box office, according to UCLA’s Hollywood Diversity Report produced by a group of UCLA researchers including Darnell Hunt, dean of the College’s division of social sciences. However, when it comes to writing and directing jobs, underrepresented voices still have quite a way to go.

The report which was published today analyzed 109 movies from 2016 to 2019 and found that movie studios can expect to lose up to $130 million per film when their offerings lack authentic diversity in their storytelling. Researchers found that large-budget films (a budget of $159 million or more) are subject to a significant cost in the opening weekend box office for a lack of diversity.

They estimate a $159 million movie will lose $32.2 million, approximately 20% of the its budget, in first weekend box office, with a potential total loss of $130 million, 82% of its budget. For a $78 million budget movie will lose $13.8 million in its opening weekend for a lack of diversity, with a potential total loss of $55.2 million, 71% of its budget.

“We asked, what is the cost of lacking diversity? Hollywood is a business, and no business wants

(Bloomberg) — Legal & General Group Plc’s investment arm will vote against certain senior appointments at FTSE 100 and S&P 500 companies if they fail to include ethnic minorities on their board.

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The asset manager wants to see at least one Black, Asian or other ethnic minority on the board at major U.K. and U.S. firms by January 2022, according to the newsletter from Legal & General Investment Management. If there isn’t any such representation, L&G will vote against appointments to chair the board and nomination committee.

“The horrifying killing of George Floyd and so many others has led many institutional investors to think much more seriously about structural racism and inequality,” LGIM wrote. “We believe asset managers must go further. Now is the time for action.”

As the U.K.’s biggest money manager with around 1.2 trillion pounds ($1.6 trillion) of assets, Legal & General’s warnings carry some heft. The firm owns stakes in many of the biggest U.K. and U.S. firms and has previously vowed to vote against companies that lacked women on boards.



graphical user interface: Boardroom Bias


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Boardroom Bias

Floyd’s death prompted collective demands for action from the financial world, with Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo & Co. vowing to elevate Black executives. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has required more bias training; JPMorgan Chase & Co. has expanded its mentoring programs; and Bank of America Corp. has pledged money to fight inequality.

The L&G letter was first reported by The Times.

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Three of the most prolific enterprise blockchain builders shared a virtual stage last week as they delved into the inner workings of how they use the technology popularized by bitcoin. Unlike your typical blockchain and cryptocurrency event, the trio—Mariana Gomez de la Villa of Dutch bank ING Group, Jennifer Peve of the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp. (DTCC) and Xue Wang from the second-largest bank in the world, China Construction Bank—spoke directly to senior-level executives at some of the largest companies in the world, sharing best practices on how to use the technology that some believe is a threat to their very survival.

The panel, Enterprise Blockchain Leaders: Tales From The Crypto, was just a small part of a larger event hosted by Forbes about our annual Blockchain 50 list of billion-dollar companies investing serious capital in the technology, and the platforms they’re using. 

Ripple chief architect David Schwartz joined Axoni founder Greg Schvey and Hyperledger vice president Daniela Barbosa to talk about best practices of the companies they’ve seen building on their platforms, followed by a chat between ConsenSys founder Joe Lubin and R3 cofounder Todd McDonald about how the platforms their companies build on—Ethereum and Corda respectively—could change the very fabric of what central banks consider money.

Beyond the management tips though, two executives shared never-before-seen documents about how they vet projects and manage stakeholders, and every company has either already given away the code at the core of their projects or plans to do so. Since blockchain is only as

According to Variety, ABC Entertainment today unveiled new inclusion standards for its primetime shows to increase the numbers of underrepresented minorities both on-screen and behind the scenes.

The initiative was spelled out in a letter sent to creatives and colleagues from Simran Sethi, ABC’s executive vice president of development and content strategy, who said it as designed to “ensure multidimensional representation across the entire creative and production process,” the trade publication said.

“These new guidelines are intended to make our content and our sets as inclusive as possible, and will serve as a further catalyst for real and sustained change,” Variety quotes Sethi as saying, “We want to take this moment to evaluate systems and habits in an effort to remove barriers to access and opportunity. It’s important for us to look around the room, see who’s not there, and then take the steps to not only bring them in but also set them up for success.”

According to Variety, the mandates include having 50 percent or more regular or recurring written characters from underrepresented groups along with their “meaningful integration” into the themes and storyline.

“ Similar criteria are asked of (the) below-the-line crew and creative leadership, including half or more of episodic directors or producer-and-above level writing staff coming from underrepresented groups,” Variety says.

The Walt Disney-owned network expects to meet these goals over the next few years.  

CBS has initiated a similar program to address concerns over diversity at their network.

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