STATEMENT BY ROBERT L. JOHNSON
Bethesda, MD — For the past four years, I have been urging the Congress and the White House to encourage corporate America to voluntarily implement and adopt the RLJ Rule1 – the RLJ Rule which encourages companies to interview qualified minority candidates and minority businesses for procurement opportunities is based on the NFLs Rooney Rule. I am therefore delighted that Xerox Corporation and the White House have agreed to adopt a version of the RLJ Rule which they call the Wilson Rule. As I have stated many times, it doesnt matter what name a company chooses to use to identify their commitment and support of the initiative, as long as it is consistent with the innovative spirit of the RLJ Rule to embrace creative ideas that support minority diversity.
As you know, I have been a proponent of the RLJ Rule which speaks to giving minorities an opportunity to prove that they can compete at the highest levels2 of business. In fact, on December 13, 2011, at a Congressional Black Caucus-sponsored meeting with the President at the White House, I presented the RLJ Rule3 personally to PresidentÂ Obama4 and he said he liked the idea and would give it to his then Jobs Council for consideration and today, I am pleased that the White House has now decided to put its weight behind the RLJ Rule5.
On July 22, 2014, seven bi-partisan Members of the U.S. Senate, led by Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) introduced Senate Resolution 511 (S.R.511)6 encouraging all U.S. companies and local and state governments to support the RLJ Rule7. Senate Resolution 511 states in part – the Rooney Rule and the RLJ Rule would improve the economy of the United States and the experience of the people of the United States; and whereas ensuring the increased exposure and resulting increased advancement of diverse qualified candidates would result in gains by all people of the United States through stronger economic opportunities.
The decision by Xerox today to implement their version of the RLJ Rule will hopefully motivate other Fortune 500 Companies to recognize the compelling need to encourage minority and ethnic diversity in hiring at every level and to encourage procurement opportunities for qualified minority businesses. The primary goal of the RLJ Rule is to make certain that minority Americans are given the opportunity to compete as equals and contribute with their talent to the growth of the United States economy both nationally and on a global scale.
Robert L. Johnson is Founder and Chairman of The RLJ Companies and Founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET).
5 (www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/robert-l-johnson-calls-on-president-barack-obama-to-renew-his-commitment-to-closethe-employment-gap-between-blacks-and-whites-by-using-the-rlj-rule-to-increase-opportunities-for-african-americans- 183839931.html)
7 (www.theroot.com/articles/politics/2014/08/ bet_founder_bob_johnson_touts_a_new_corporate_sector_rooney_rule.html)
About The RLJ Companies:
The RLJ Companies, founded by Robert L. Johnson, is an innovative business network that provides strategic investments in a diverse portfolio of companies. Within The RLJ Companies portfolio, Johnson owns or holds interests in businesses operating in a publicly traded hotel real estate investment trust, private equity, financial services, asset management, automobile dealerships, sports and entertainment, and video lottery terminal (VLT) gaming. The RLJ Companies is headquartered in Bethesda, MD, with affiliate operations in Charlotte, NC; Little Rock, AR; Los Angeles, CA; San Juan, PR; and Monrovia, Liberia. Prior to founding The RLJ Companies, Johnson was founder and chairman of Black Entertainment Television (BET). For more information, visit: www.rljcompanies.com.
Photo Caption: Robert L. Johnson, Chairman, The RLJ Companies
Photo Credit: Melissa Golden