A CEO who gets it: Hispanics Key to Future Growth
Hans Vestberg is a man who knows something about diversity, having served on three continents and speaking five languages. He sees explosive growth coming for…
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Hans Vestberg, Chief Executive Officer of Verizon — the American telecommunications company with a market capitalization currently of approximately $250 billion – shared his perspective on the impact of the Hispanic community’s growth during the L’Attitude digital event of 2020.
As the head of a major American telecommunications company, Vestberg said exploiting the growth of the Hispanic community is the key to the success of the company.
He appeared for an interview with Sol Trujillo for L’Attitude 2020 in a panel entitled, “New Mainstream Economy CEO Townhall.”
“Clearly, the Latino community is so big, and so much of the growth,” Vestberg said.
Vestberg referred not only to his experience running Verizon – which he has since August 2018 – but to a new report released in a prior session.
That report found that American Hispanics would be the eighth largest economy globally, with explosive growth in new business formation.
"Our country's GDP has been slowing dramatically over the past few years, which has been further exacerbated by the global pandemic, making L'ATTITUDE essential in identifying new ways to find rapid and sustainable growth," said Trujillo. "History and data indicate the U.S. economy cannot fully rebound without the U.S. Latino cohort continuing its economic leadership role, and we have assembled an unparalleled list of celebrity-status people across key sectors of America to help shine a spotlight on the difference between Wall Street and Main Street and the actions that need to be taken to make capitalism work for the many, not just the few."
“I have to thank you and the team for bringing this report to our attention,” Vestberg told Trujillo.
“We need to attend to all the diverse groups,” Vestberg continued, “We need to understand all the different cohorts.”
At Verizon, Vestberg practices what he preaches.
For instance, Verizon was a founding member of the “Billion Dollar Roundtable” which provided contracts of $1 billion or more to minority contractors.
The work is never done.
“How can we use more suppliers who are Latino,” Vestberg asked rhetorically at one point.
Board diversity is another place where Verizon has led, “On board diversity is good,” he said.
Trujillo and others pointed repeatedly during sessions about the low Hispanic board participation rate; US Latinos hold a mere 2.2% of the board seats among the publicly-traded companies listed in the Russell 3000 Index, according to ISS ESG data as of August 31.
At Verizon, four of nine board members are women or people of color.
Vestberg has experienced all sorts of diversity in his career.
He speaks at least five languages fluently including English, Spanish and Portuguese.
At one point, after Vestberg had spoken fluently in Spanish, Trujillo jokingly noted that Vestberg was probably a more fluent Spanish speaker than himself.
His career has taken him to stints in China, Mexico, Brazil, the USA, and Sweden.