Treasury hires former JPMorgan executive as first racial equity counselor

Department of Treasury in Washington, D.C., seen on June 3
Greg Nash

The Treasury Department has hired a former JPMorgan Chase executive to head a new government program aimed at addressing racial inequality issues in banking and other financial services industries.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced Monday that Janis Bowdler will be the department’s first counselor for racial equity. 

Bowdler’s hiring is a part of a multipronged strategy from the Biden administration to combat systemic racism in many parts of the economy, according to The Associated Press.

“The American economy has historically not worked fairly for communities of color,” Yellen said in the statement, noting that “people of color were often the first to lose their jobs and businesses” during the pandemic.

“Treasury must play a central role in ensuring that as our economy recovers from the pandemic, it recovers in a way that addresses the inequalities that existed long before anyone was infected with COVID-19,” she said. “I’m excited that Janis will join us and devote her efforts to that mission.”

Bowdler, a Malone College and Cleveland State University graduate, was the president of the JPMorgan Chase & Co. Foundation, where she launched several critical initiatives to help expand capital for minority entrepreneurs, improve access to banking products and services, and expand access to new job skills. 

Bowdler also worked for UnidosUS, formerly called the National Council of La Raza, where she advocated for economic mobility opportunities for Latino families, according to the statement. 

“I could not be more humbled by the historic opportunity to serve as the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s first Counselor for Racial Equity,” Bowdler said.

“I have spent my entire career working in solidarity with Black, Latinx, AAPI, Native communities, and other communities of color to dismantle the structural and institutional racism that perpetuates the racial wealth divide,” she wrote.

“Addressing racial and gender disparities and giving underserved communities greater access to opportunities creates more broadly shared prosperity for all. Thank you to Secretary Yellen for entrusting me with this position to help contribute to the Biden Administration’s commitment to centering racial equity in its work,” she concluded.

Tags Janet Yellen racial equity U.S. Department of Treasury Washigton D.C.
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