(Miss this week’s The Leadership Brief? This interview below was delivered to the inbox of Leadership Brief subscribers on Sunday morning, Oct. 11; to receive weekly emails of conversations with the world’s top CEOs and business decisionmakers, click here.)
Roger Ferguson’s Wall Street career has been marked by a series of crises. Ferguson is the president and CEO of TIAA, the Fortune 100 financial giant that is a major provider of retirement services for teachers and employees at more than 15,000 nonprofits and other institutions. He is currently working with his team to ensure that the COVID-19 economic downturn doesn’t jeopardize TIAA’s $1.1 trillion in assets under management. The company is the No. 1 manager of farmland investments worldwide and one of the largest commercial real estate investors globally. Ferguson, 69, came to TIAA as CEO in 2008, amid another financial crisis; previously, he was the vice chairman of the Federal Reserve on 9/11, personally leading the central bank’s nimble response to that catastrophe.
Ferguson, who has bachelor’s and law degrees from Harvard—plus an economics Ph.D. from the school— is one of only four Black CEOs running a Fortune 500 company. He recently joined TIME from his home in Washington, D.C., for a conversation about the impact of climate change on investing, his advice to individual investors in a time of wild market swings and what specific steps corporate America should take to get serious about diversity.
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(This interview with TIAA CEO Roger Ferguson has been condensed and edited for clarity.)
What do you think of the frothy stock market, and should the many people who rely on TIAA for retirement advice watch the swings closely?
Well, to start with your