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U.S. Bank and Bayer Pharmaceuticals appear to be among the corporations that participated in employee leadership training programs hosted by McKinsey and Company that banned white employees from participation on the basis of their race, according to videos posted online by the consulting giant.
High-level minority employees of both U.S. Bank and Bayer Pharmaceuticals were featured in a video showcasing McKinsey’s “Connected Leaders Academy,” a career advancement program that bars white employees from participating in an attempt to “accelerate racial equity” and “diversify talent pipelines,” according to McKinsey, the management consulting firm that once employed Pete Buttigieg.
“The programs are delivered through identity-based communities – Black Leadership Academy, Hispanic and Latino Leadership Academy, and Asian Leadership Academy,” McKinsey writes in its description of the video featuring the executives.
U.S. Bank’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategy Manager Astrid Benedetto celebrated the racially discriminatory program, stating that it helps the company think about “how we can equitably and fairly manage our talent pipeline.”
Allison Smith, the talent management lead at Bayer Pharmaceuticals, also praised the Connected Leaders Academy in the video posted to McKinsey’s YouTube channel, stating that it “helps to really develop our employees for their next opportunity.”
Bayer VP of Strategy Nicolas Bahamon added in the video that the program “helps me as a leader to understand … different approaches I can engage with other Latin American colleagues.” Meanwhile, multiple employees of the major pharmaceutical company posted confirmation that they had participated in the program with the support and sponsorship of Bayer.
U.S. Bank and Bayer are just two of the companies that offered the discriminatory McKinsey programs to their employees. A report last week from O’Keefe Media revealed that Best Buy partnered with McKinsey and Company as well, with a document from the technology retailer stating that employees must “identify as black, Latino, Hispanic, or Asian Pacific Islander” to participate in the program.
DISCRIMINATION: A Citizen Journalist has revealed Best Buy is partnering with McKinsey & Company on a Management Training Program.
The program is not open to white applicants. “Candidates must meet the [racial] requirements below”
— O’Keefe Media Group (@OKeefeMedia) August 8, 2023
The report led to calls to boycott Best Buy. America First Legal, a non-profit legal foundation that fights “equity-based exclusion,” urged Best Buy employees who were disqualified on the basis of their race to contact the organization for a potential lawsuit.
Insurance industry giant Liberty Mutual also participated in the McKinsey and Company program, and specified to employees that it was only being offered to those that identify as “Asian, Black or Hispanic/Latinx.” The company noted that the program seeks to “diversify talent pipelines” and “accelerate careers.”
BREAKING: @LibertyMutual partnered with the same company as Best Buy to offer a “management training program” which excludes white people.
“Current program criteria include” not being white.
Liberty Mutual discriminates against white employees. pic.twitter.com/ZROKdLULYL
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) August 14, 2023
U.S. Bank boasted of their involvement in the program in its 2022 ESG Report, which states “we offer employees affinity-based development programs.” It specifically cited the “McKinsey Black, Hispanic, and Asian Leadership Academies,” which it defined as “a management accelerator program” and an “executive leadership program designed for senior executives looking to ascend to C-suite roles.”
A 2022 press release from U.S. Bank also noted that it “invested in more than 260 Black leaders who completed McKinsey Black Leadership Academy development training,” one of the offerings under the broader Connected Leaders Academy.
But McKinsey stated in its 2022 ESG Report Executive Summary that it has “engaged more than 67,000 Black, Asian, and Latino Professionals in our Connected Leaders Academy.” Its website also notes that over 900 organizations have also participated in the program.
The program is split up into three “course offerings,” including “Leadership Essentials,” “Management Accelerator,” and “Executive Leadership,” McKinsey states.
The site also notes that the Connected Leaders Academy is “designed for cohorts of individuals through their organization” and that it “is not designed to be accessed directly by individuals.”
The program began in 2020 with the Black Leadership Academy before McKinsey launched the Hispanic and Latino Leadership Academy and the Asian Leadership Academy.
US Bank, Bayer, and McKinsey did not respond to requests for comment.