Laurence "Larry" Fink, chairman and CEO of BlackRock, speaks during the BlackRock Asia Media Forum in Hong Kong on May 17, 2016.
Photograph by Justin Chin — Bloomberg/Getty Images
By Ellen McGirt
Updated: January 16, 2018 4:29 PM ET

No essay today, as I’m racing to the finish line on a magazine story.

But I will leave you with a little inspiration from the world of big finance. It comes by way of Laurence D. Fink, the founder and CEO of the investment firm BlackRock, which manages some $6 trillion in investments through 401(k)s, mutual funds and other financial instruments.

It’s a pointed call to action to other leaders to get busy saving the world.

He’s written a letter, which he shared exclusively with The New York Times’s Dealbook column, which calls for a new kind of shareholder engagement, one that emphasizes long-term benefits, in lieu of short-termism and money-wasting proxy fights. “Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose,” he said. “To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.”

And, he’s made diversity a non-negotiable line in the sand.

“We will also continue to emphasize the importance of a diverse board. Boards with a diverse mix of genders, ethnicities, career experiences, and ways of thinking, have, as a result, a more diverse and aware mindset. They’re less likely to succumb to groupthink for miss or new threats to a company’s business mode. And they are better able to identify opportunities to promote long-term growth.”

The letter is being sent today to the chief executives of the largest public companies. I thought you’d like to be in the loop on this.

If you work for a large, public company, today would be a great day to ping your CEO and see what they have to say about the letter. Do let us know how y’all are planning to make those positive contributions to society. We’d love to help.


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