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Microsoft CEO pledges to fight racism through hiring, purchasing, donations

Satya Nadella also says he's looking closely at his own attitudes.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella pledged to fight racism personally and at his company.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella pledged to fight racism personally and at his company.
Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Microsoft will work to improve the lives of African Americans by pushing for a better justice system, focusing on its own hiring, donating funds to groups tackling racial inequality and buying from more-diverse suppliers, Chief Executive Satya Nadella said in an all-employee email the company published late Friday. And Nadella is looking more closely at his own attitudes and behavior, he said.

"I must continue my journey of understanding and empathy and examine actions I take, or don't take, every day. Listening and learning from my Black and African American colleagues is helping me develop a better understanding of their experience. And I take accountability for my own continued learning on the realities of privilege, inequity and race and modeling the behavior I want to see in the world," Nadella said in the email.

Several tech executives are trying to take a stand against racism after the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black Minnesota man who died last month after a white police officer pinned him to the ground with a knee to the neck. A bystander took video of Floyd's final moments that sparked protests across the United States.

Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai also have made personal statements in the wake of Floyd's death and amid the resulting protests and the often forceful police response to them. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also spoke out against racism, but some Facebook employees are protesting Facebook's relatively gentle treatment of posts from President Donald Trump.

In his email, Nadella said Microsoft is:

"For us to have the permission to ask the world to change, we must change first," Nadella said.

Nadella's email follows earlier statements, including Nadella's tweet against hate and racism and Microsoft spotlighting the voices of its own employees.