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Corporate America Goes on a Diversity Officer Hiring Spree

The police killing of George Floyd focused attention on the need to eliminate discrimination in the workplace.
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Illustration: George Wylesol for Bloomberg Businessweek

In the three months after the police killing of George Floyd touched off mass protests, new hires for chief diversity officers in S&P 500 companies jumped to as many as a dozen a month—almost triple the normal rate, according to research from executive recruiter Russell Reynolds Associates Inc. For many, it was their first diversity executive. “What’s different this time is that the whole world is focused on it,” says Tina Shah Paikeday, who leads the diversity and inclusion advisory practice at Russell Reynolds.

Companies such as McDonald’s, Microsoft, and Boeing have set specific hiring goals. International Business Machines Corp. has dropped degree requirements that had proved to be barriers to recruiting minorities. Other corporations have pledged support to groups promoting the hiring of more Black directors, executives, and employees.