Apple Diversity Chief 'Steps Down' After Saying White People Can Be Diverse

Apple's first diversity chief is leaving after less than a year

Apple's vice president of diversity and inclusion Denise Young Smith is leaving the company less than a year into her job. Smith ran Apple's human resources division before that and has been with the company for 20 years, making this a surprising departure.

Christie Smith, who spent 17 years as a principal at Deloitte, will take over the role and report to Apple VP for People Deirdre O'Brien, the website reported. "We're thrilled to welcome an accomplished leader like Christie Smith to help us continue the progress we've made in a more diverse workplace".

Speaking on a panel discussion on fighting racial injustice-moderated by Quartz-at the One Young World Summit in Bogotá, Colombia last month, Young Smith said: "Diversity is the human experience".

Although Young Smith's new role in the Valley hasn't been announced yet, the Cornell Chronicle recently reported that she will head to the school as an executive-in-residence. Similarly, James Damore, whose Google memo had seismic impacts on the diversity conversation, has repeatedly said he and other likeminded white men are marginalised by Silicon Valley due to their beliefs, arguing he was sacked for railing against an "ideological echo chamber".

Writing for The New York Times, StubHub's head of business operations in North America, Bari Williams, wrote: "Those of us in the tech industry know that the idea of "cognitive diversity" is gaining traction among leaders in our field".

Over the last few months, Apple has been searching for a successor to replace Young Smith.

That room is full of diversity, in Smith's view, because every single man in the room has a different life perspective and experience and he can enrich the conversation.

In 2017, only 3 percent of Apple's leaders were black with women holding just 23 percent of tech jobs., and women held just 23 percent of tech jobs, according to Fortune.

Denise later apologized for her comment by saying "were not representative of how I think about diversity or how Apple sees it".

"For that, I'm sorry", she proclaimed following the incident.

"Meaningful change takes time", the company said in its report.

Apple's diversity is improving, but it's still far from where it should be and is moving at a slow pace. 'We're proud of our accomplishments, but we have much more work to do'.

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