Apple’s head of Worldwide Human Resources Denise Young Smith has played a leading role in the company’s diversity and inclusion initiatives of late, and now she will be leading those efforts full time in a newly-created Vice President position, 9to5Mac editor Jordan Kahn reports:
The executive shuffle will see the creation of a new VP role for Apple’s Inclusion and Diversity team with Smith reporting directly to CEO Tim Cook. Sources say Smith has long had a passion for diversity initiatives at the company and the newly created position reflects an increased focus on the company’s efforts. Smith’s new role going forward at Apple will officially be Vice President for Inclusion and Diversity.
Previously, Apple’s diversity and inclusion efforts were headed by Jeffrey Siminoff, who held a director role and reported to Smith. He left the company at the start of 2016 to head up D&I at Twitter. Smith’s new VP position is the first at Apple to report directly to the CEO, Kahn adds. Her promotion leaves Apple temporarily without a head of HR; SVP and CFO Luca Maestri will fill in that role until a replacement is hired.
According to our 2016 D&I Benchmarking Report (which CEB Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Council members can access here), only about 3 percent of heads of D&I report directly to the CEO, with the largest percentage of these leaders (38 percent) reporting to the CHRO. For a tech company in particular, this is a large step. Sources tell TechCrunch’s Megan Rose Dickey that the new VP position represents a “significant upscaling of responsibility” from Siminoff’s former role, and that employees see it as a positive move for the company.
While Smith’s new role further underlines Cook’s expressed commitment to making Apple a socially progressive institution, the company still has work to do in aligning its policies and facilities with its values of diversity and inclusion. Apple’s most recent diversity report, issued last August, indicated that it had closed its gender and racial pay gaps, but showed only modest progress toward hiring more women and underrepresented minorities. The iPhone maker has also faced widespread criticism over its new, $5 billion “mothership” campus in Cupertino, California, which contains a number of high-tech features and amenities including a large fitness center, but lacks on-site child care facilities, which critics say would go a long way toward helping Apple attract and retain more women.