Wall Street CEOs open up about their gay sons

wall streetWhen he was CEO of Morgan Stanley (MS) and Credit Suisse First Boston (CS), John Mack was known for his progressive views on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality.

But that wasn’t always the case.

“I had strong views of being anti-gay,” Mack said this month at a conference hosted by Out on the Street, an organization that helps firms recruit and retain LGBT talent. Growing up and playing football in a small town in North Carolina, Mack said he “was unfair, and in some cases downright cruel.”

Those opinions began to shift after he got married and had children. But it wasn’t until his son, Stephen, came out in 1997 that his views were completely transformed.

Throughout high school, Stephen said he didn’t know he was gay. When he figured it out, at the age of 22 or 23, he called his mom to tell her — but asked her not to tell his dad.

A month later, Stephen flew home to tell Mack in person. He was waiting for the right moment. His father was telling him something private, so he jumped on the opportunity:

“I said, ‘while we’re on the topic of sharing things … I’m gay,'” said Stephen.

Mack said he had an “inkling” his son was gay. Despite his prior views, it was an easy conversation.

“I had one question: ‘Are you happy?’ That’s all I cared about,” said Mack.

Compared to the rest of the corporate world, Wall Street has been at the forefront of providing LGBT-friendly benefits and policies. But it’s still not always an easy place for people to be open about their sexuality.

Read more: http://money.cnn.com/2014/05/19/pf/ceos-gay-sons/index.html?iid=EL

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