TORONTO, June 1 (Reuters) - Toronto-Dominion Bank’s chief executive on Monday called for “zero tolerance” of racism after violent protests raged across the United States for a sixth straight night over racial inequities and excessive police force.
“The events over the last few weeks are the latest, but by no means the only, examples of racism and violence against Black communities,” Bharat Masrani, who heads up Canada’s second-biggest lender, wrote in the statement.
“As a society we must have zero-tolerance for racism of any kind, in any form.”
The unrest began with peaceful protests over the death of a black man, George Floyd, in police custody in Minneapolis last Monday, with video footage showing a white police officer kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes before he died.
“At a time when we are all fighting COVID-19, we must remember that racism too must be eradicated,” Masrani said. “So many TD colleagues and customers have been directly impacted. Their pain is real, and their heartbreak is deep.”
TD Bank’s U.S. retail business accounted for 22% of earnings in the quarter ended April 30, and its employees there made up nearly 30% of its total workforce.
Masrani, of Indian descent, was born in Uganda, according to a 2014 profile of him in the Globe and Mail newspaper.
He held leadership roles in Europe, India and the United States before becoming CEO in 2014. (Reporting By Nichola Saminather; Editing by Richard Chang)