Florida based bank C1 Financial became the first publicly listed bank in the United States to have an openly gay CEO when its stock became available to trade on Thursday.
C1 Financial CEO Trevor Burgess had to disclose his husband owns shares in the bank in filing the paper work necessary for its shares to be made publicly listed – something that he would not had to have done prior to the Supreme Court’s striking down of the federal Defense Of Marriage Act last year.
Burgess told the Wall Street Journal that he had been open about his sexuality throughout his career although it had rarely been an issue.
‘At the end of the day, I think that my clients and my colleagues really appreciated me for who I was and the fact that I was good and being good mattered more than anything else,’ Burgess said.
However he recalled how it had felt for him at the start of his career not having any role models in pursuing a career in the financial sector.
‘I’m excited that there will be at least one example for people,’ Burgess said, ‘We’ve got good examples for basketball players, arts, football, but where’s Wall Street?’
‘Looking for mentors, looking for examples, looking for someone who was like me and coming up blank was pretty stark and a bit sad and scary.’
Burgess’ arrival on Wall Street has been welcomed by many US corporate leaders.
‘As a long time supporter of the LGBT community, Deutsche Bank is proud to offer our congratulations to Trevor Burgess for his courage and authenticity,’ Deutsche Bank North America CEO Jacques Brand said.
‘We know that the ability to be oneself at work is fundamentally important to individual and organizational success.’
That sentiment was shared by HSBC USA president and CEO Irene Dorner and Vestar Capital CEO Dan O’ Connell.
‘Leaders who feel comfortable being open about their sexual orientation are more productive and engaged, which directly impacts the success of their organization,’ Dorner said.
‘As a strong supporter of diversity, HSBC offers sincere congratulations to Trevor on leading the way with this IPO, and our best wishes for continued success.’
‘Authentic leadership takes courage, self-awareness and the ability to forge ones own path,’ O’Connell said.
‘Trevor’s willingness to lead openly and authentically is a great example for other leaders to follow, and I wish him continued success.’
Openly gay former BP CEO and author of ‘The Glass Closet: Why Coming Out is Good Business,’ Lord John Browne said Burgess was forging a path that others would follow.
‘Role models like Trevor prove that being open and authentic is no barrier to success,’ Lord Browne said.
‘I hope that his story encourages those in the closet to let go of the fears which hold them back, and that he serves as an example for LGBT people in business to follow.’
LGBTI corporate leadership group Out Leadership said Burgess was proof that sexuality was not a barrier when it comes to succeeding in the business world.
‘Trevor has long served as a visibly out and pioneering role model for both the financial services industry and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community,’ Out Leadership founder Todd Sears said.
‘As a leader who has remained true to himself throughout his career, and as the financial services industry’s first openly gay CEO, we admire Trevor’s personal courage and commend his authentic leadership.
‘We hope the path he is forging will continue to inspire other LGBT leaders across corporate America to become even more visible. We wish him, his husband Gary and their daughter Logan, and his entire leadership team the very best as they embark on an exciting new chapter.’
Out Leadership is the group behind the Out on the Street, Out in Law, and Out in Insurance initiatives and the emerging leader platform, OutNEXT.