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HP CEO prioritises diversity

August 1, 2018

Dion Weisler, CEO of HP Inc.

The OEM’s Chief Executive announced recently that HP was prepared to turn vendors away unless they step up their company diversity.

In an interview with Fortune magazine, Dion Weisler revealed that he has told HP’s vendors to “step up” their diversity commitments, or lose the business of the OEM.

“If you want to make a difference, be prepared to make the tough call,” Weisler explained. “And so we did that. That’s the power of being in the leadership position. That you can influence an ecosystem. That you can step up and lead as a leader across an organization larger than your own to make a difference in the things you really believe in.”

Fortune further reports that this ultimatum had the desired impression on the OEM’s suppliers, with Weisler adding that “they all stepped up. And the ones that stepped up more, are getting more work. And the ones that didn’t step up aren’t working for us anymore.”

Whilst there is a reasonable argument to be made that diversity benefits a company from a business point of view, for Weisler, it goes deeper. “Importantly, your people care. They want to work for a company that cares about making a difference in the communities where we serve, and so for us, it’s a business imperative.”

The CEO also spoke to Fortune about the recent decision of Kevin Johnson, CEO of Starbucks, to close the chain’s US stores for a day of racial bias training. Weisler was positive about the controversial decision, explain that “my take is, action is always better than inaction and if that’s the right thing for them to do, that’s the best way to do it. More power to them.”

“We need to make the decisions for our company,” Weisler reflected. “Other companies and other CEOs and leadership teams need to make the right decisions for their companies. But we ought to be doing it.”

Weisler’s comments are the latest evidence of HP championing diversity, after it released data earlier this year showing that diverse teams offer a better performance than non-diverse ones. The OEM has also received acclaim for its own performance in this regard, winning CIODive’s Company of the Year for Diversity Award last year, and becoming the exclusive sponsor of the Public Relations Society of America’s Big Apple President’s Diversity Data Honour Roll Award.

Whilst Weisler has warned the company’s suppliers that they must up their game, the OEM’s CMO previously demanded the same from HP’s advertising agencies, in a letter sent out in 2016.

Antonio Lucio asked five of HP’s PR agencies to detail “how they are going to increase the number of women and people of minorities they have in their top creative and strategy roles”, warning that “failure to comply” within a year “could result in removal” from HP Inc’s roster of agencies.

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