Parsons: Diversity Not Happening Fast Enough - Multichannel

Parsons: Diversity Not Happening Fast Enough

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The cable industry is moving too slowly in its efforts to diversify its
executive ranks, according to AOL Time Warner Inc. chairman and CEO Dick
Parsons.

Parsons -- speaking Tuesday at a National Association of Multi-Ethnicity in
Communications luncheon honoring U.S. secretary of education Rod Paige -- said
the industry is making progress on diversity-employment issues, but it still has
to ratchet up efforts to place qualified minorities in decision-making
positions.

"Everybody is making progress, [but] it’s all about the rate that progress is
being made," Parsons said. "It requires determination at the top of these
entities to ensure that we’re going to have a diverse work force."

Parsons, one of the highest-ranking African-American executives in the
country, said cable’s current and future success can be tied to its ability to
effectively serve its subscriber base, which can be achieved by providing a work
force that reflects respective communities.

He pointed to cable’s ability to draw viewers away from the broadcast
networks by providing a diverse lineup of programming.

"We tailor our programming to the communities we serve, but unless the
community is reflected in your employee base, you’re not going to be completely
sensitive to all of their needs and be as successful as you could be," he
added.

Through AOL Time Warner’s diversity efforts, Parsons said, the company has
recently added 25 people of color at officer-level positions or above. He
pointed to the importance of mentorship programs to make sure the "pipeline is
full so that there are people ready to take those [executive]
jobs."

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