Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Troubled Signet Jewelers gets a new CEO, the Labor Department’s investigation into Google’s gender pay gap takes a hit, and the Brainstorm Tech crowd talks discrimination in Silicon Valley. Enjoy your Tuesday.
• New bling. Remember the massive class-action lawsuit in which roughly 250 people who worked at Sterling Jewelers accused the company’s leadership of fostering a culture of rampant sexual harassment and discrimination? It’s a tough one to forget: One of the claims was that Mark Light, the CEO of Sterling’s parent company, Signet Jewelers, was seen with “nude and partially undressed female employees in a swimming pool.”
Now, months later, Light is out, citing health reasons for his departure. He will be replaced by longtime P&G exec and current Signet director Virginia Drosos on August 1. In this story, Fortune‘s Phil Wahba looks at the challenges that lie ahead for Drosos. They are myriad: The jeweler—which operates the Kay, Jared, and Zales brands—has seen its sales soften and its stock plummet, while its reputation took a hit over allegations of gem swapping at its Kay Jewelers. And of course, fixing a culture as toxic as the one described in the class-action suit is essential—and will not be easy. Fortune
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Talking it out. A heads up for those of you who are interested in what Brainstorm Tech attendees have to say about sexual harassment and other issues plaguing women in tech (see below for more): At 11:05 am Mountain today, Bloomberg TV’s Emily Chang will lead a town hall discussion on improving diversity and inclusion in Silicon Valley. Among the participants: Etsy COO Linda Kozlowski, Code2040 CEO Laura Weidman Powers, and Leanne Meyer, director of leadership development at the Tepper School of Business. Tune in to the stream to catch it live: Fortune
• Robot overlords. Yesterday, Nest Labs CTO Yoky Matsuoka assured the Brainstorm crowd that robots are a force for good. Rather than rising up to enslave mankind—or simply stealing our jobs—the machines will eventually take over repetitive tasks that people aren’t great at, like lifting heavy objects, she says: “Robots don’t hurt their backs, so let them do it.” Fortune
• Pay gap or privacy gap? An administrative law judge has ruled that the Labor Department’s demand for data on 21,000 Google employees—part of a probe to discover whether the company has a systematic pay gap—is too broad and could violate workers’ privacy. Still, the ruling will allow the Labor Department audit to continue with a more limited set of employee records. Washington Post
• Out of the woodwork. Tales of sexual harassment continue to spill out of the startup world. In this CNNMoney piece, six female tech entrepreneurs share their stories of fending off male VCs’ inappropriate advances—and how the aftermath of those moments affected them mentally, and in some cases, damaged their careers. Meanwhile, Rent the Runway CEO Jennifer Hyman talked about being “propositioned, sent sexual text messages, harassed and threatened in person” while building her company. She also called out non-disclosure and non-disparagement agreements as contributing to the problem, since they can bar women from speaking out about mistreatment.
• \o/ The latest additions to the emoji world—which are coming to phones later this year—include a breastfeeding mother and a woman wearing a headscarf. (Not all the new images are so woke: there’s also a flesh-eating zombie.) Fortune
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Wishing for smarter casting. Disney has been taking some heat on Twitter for casting a non-Arab actress to play Jasmine in the upcoming live-action reboot of Aladdin. The role went to Naomi Scott, who is of British and Indian heritage; some critics are taking the decision as a suggestion by Disney that women of Indian and Middle Eastern heritage look the same. Fortune
• GitHub’s white man problem. Nicole Sanchez, the executive tapped to oversee GitHub’s diversity and inclusion efforts in the aftermath of a 2014 sexual harassment scandal, has resigned as the company’s VP of social impact. Her departure has “reignited an internal debate over company culture and cast some doubt on GitHub’s ability to repair what one former employee called an “entrenched culture” that favors white male employees. BuzzFeed
• Write-Her? Miki Agrawal, the controversial co-founder of period-underwear brand Thinx, has landed a deal for her second book, reportedly titled Disrupt-Her. As those who have followed her career will recall, Agrawal, who was removed as CEO of her company, has been sued for sexual harassment by one employee, while others have made explosive claims about the toxic workplace culture at Thinx during her tenure. New York Magazine
• Yes to the (borrowed) dress. Bridal retailer Alfred Angelo has apologized to brides left in the lurch after it filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy last week. While I doubt that’s much consolation, it was touching to see so many women on social media offering to lend their own bridal gowns to Alfred Angelo customers. Fortune
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