Denise Young Smith will take over the inclusion efforts at the tech company.

By Grace Donnelly
May 23, 2017

Apple has named Denise Young Smith vice president for Inclusion and Diversity, marking the company’s latest effort to improve racial and gender disparities among its employees. Young Smith, formerly the company’s global head of human resources, will take over diversity initiatives and report directly to Apple CEO, Tim Cook.

She takes over for the previous head of diversity and inclusion, Jeffrey Siminoff, who served at a director level and reported to Young Smith. He left the company for Twitter in January of last year.

It’s a step in the right direction for Apple, since best practices for corporate diversity indicate that having a CEO directly involved leads to more effective inclusion measures within an organization.

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This change comes after pressure from shareholders over the lack of diversity of the company’s senior management and board at the annual meeting in February.

Apple has released data about their employee demographics since 2014 and has seen little success thus far in improving diversity at the company.

In June 2016, Apple’s U.S. workforce was 56% white, 19% Asian, 12% Hispanic, and 9% black, according to the company’s EEO-1 report. These most recent numbers show that not much has changed there were only one or two percentage point differences for each racial or ethnic group compared to previous reports.

 

The company also remained overwhelmingly male. Women made up 32% of their global workforce last June, up just two percentage points from 2014.

In Apple’s leadership, representation is even worse82% of executives at the company are white and fewer than one in five is a woman.

Young Smith is one of only two women of color among Apple’s executives and has been involved with diversity initiatives in her previous VP role. She has worked in HR at Apple since joining the company in 1997.

“Diversity is more than any one gender, race, or ethnicity. It’s richly representative of all people, all backgrounds, and all perspectives,” reads her quote on the company’s diversity page. “It is the entire human experience.”

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