The CEO Initiative

Are we changing executives’ opinions?

What has changed since the murder of George Floyd? His name forever etched in minds all across the globe. I like many was moved, shocked and somewhat traumatised by what we had all witnessed on or smart phones at the end of May 2020,

Here is the letter I wrote to many of the FTSE 100 companies shortly after that tragic day;

The CEO Initiative

Changing Executives Opinions

17th June 2020

Dear Chief Executive Officer,

This is an important moment in our history.

Protests as you are aware are continuing all around the world over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Monday 25th May 2020.

I want to reach out to you in your capacity as a leader, and a person of influence to not only ask your opinion on current matters, but to have a conversation with you. From my standpoint the importance cannot be overstated enough and should not be misinterpreted and viewed as a pointless exercise, otherwise we will all fail in our quest for understanding and progress on the subject of racism.

The rationale for reaching out to you is simple. You have the authority and power to shift mind-sets within your organisation and within you circle of influence.

Inclusion, diversity and race have come to the forefront now more than ever, and this time it requires leaders like you not to skip the subject, but to address it head on. Structural racism exists, and is hidden within organisations, buildings, mind-sets and ideals which clearly affect how we live our day to day lives; its rigid construction is weaved into the fabric of our day to day lives, and to this end acts in a similar vein to the deadly Covid-19 virus. However the impact is only suffered by people of colour.

We need to challenge the status quo regarding race and racism, it can no longer be avoided or allowed to continue to cause hurt and trauma in the way that it has for centuries.

In October 2017, the Parker Review Committee published its report telling business leaders to improve the racial diversity of their Boards, to reflect their customer base and communities they operate within by 2021. Also, it asks companies to develop a pipeline of candidates and plan for succession through mentoring and sponsorship, and enhance transparency and disclosure to record and track progress against the objectives.

So I ask you the following;
i) What does racism mean to you? And can you identify it?
ii) Do you understand its impact?
iii) Does your corporate culture fit modern society?
iv) Does your organisational structure reflect society?
v) Can you assist in changing attitudes towards race?

If you are starting to feel uncomfortable about the questions, wanting to push back, or do not feel the urge to respond, then you are part of the problem that currently exists and I would not expect to hear from you.

If however you do respond and are happy to engage on this matter, I would truly welcome the discourse, and thus would like to have a short conversation with you on the above questions.

This call to leaders is not the panacea, but it must and will contribute in a time where change is needed.

What will be the outcomes…?

Your frank and open dialogue when addressing the issues around race and racism will breed more confidence into a new position, and where we all sit on these matters. It will start a new transformative approach to race and diversity, and also you will gain some insightful and real context from a black perspective on racism.

I look forward to hearing from you very soon.

Yours faithfully,

Mr Peter Todd MA BA (Hons)
CEO Changing Executives Opinions

The CEO Initiative

What does change look like?

There was a huge responsibility placed upon senior executives across the land to start a conversation about race, and this was to be open, honest, and accountable with regard to diversity, inclusion, and equality. This I felt was the beginning of a new challenge, long overdue in my opinion. I will report my findings and the responses I had from the CEO Initiative in a later piece.

Many had been asking questions, knocking on doors, writing letters and articles, trying desperately to get community voices heard on the subject of race and equality.

However, it was a camera, the extreme footage, and viral social media distribution that caused the start of conversations around race and identity – and of course crucial to the point was the detail on the footage that led to the conviction of the officer that had his knee on the neck of George Floyd for over eight minutes.

Over two years on what do you see? Has your view changed with regards to progress? I recall listening and watching radio and TV programmes, hearing one question crop up continuously – What do you want to see change? My answer would have been what the hell! We have been asking questions, and pointing out wrongdoings for so long that have been ignored for so long and you are now asking us what do we want? Jamaicans have a word for this type of ill thought through and flippant questioning – ‘Pappyshow’.


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