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Amex sets template for gender diversity

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

Tech companies could learn about gender diversity from American Express.

Early this year, Intel announced a push to diversify its workforce. Microsoft, Google and other tech firms acknowledge a need to hire and promote more women.

American Express has been there and done that. The financial services giant started its first women’s inclusion group 22 years ago; minority groups followed. The world’s largest card issuer by purchase volume now boasts 39% women in vice-president positions and above. Women made up 66% of corporate executive hires in 2014, a statistic that chief diversity officer Valerie Grillo attributes to decades of work on equality.

While most companies were retrenching in 2008, American Express took advantage of the times, aggressively hiring and promoting for diversity.

 “Nobody said we have to do this. It’s just smart business,” says Susan Sobbott, president of global corporate payments.

— Adapted from “Charging Ahead on Diversity,” Caroline Fairchild, Fortune.

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