Apple’s first-ever vice president of diversity and inclusion, Denise Young Smith, is leaving Apple at the end of this year, TechCrunch has learned. Young Smith, who has only been in the position since May of this year, previously served as Apple’s head of worldwide human resources for three years.
Taking over as VP of inclusion and diversity will be Christie Smith, who spent 17 years as a principal at Deloitte. In her career, Smith has focused on talent management, organizational design, inclusion, diversity and people solutions. At Apple, she’ll report to Apple VP for People Deirdre O’Brien, the company announced internally today.
“We deeply believe that diversity drives innovation,” an Apple spokesperson said in a statement to TechCrunch. “We’re thrilled to welcome an accomplished leader like Christie Smith to help us continue the progress we’ve made toward a more diverse workplace.”
Young Smith had been talking with Apple CEO Tim Cook about the next phase of her career and life since about a year ago, according to a source. Over the last few months, Apple has been searching for a successor to replace Young Smith. It’s not quite clear, however, when exactly Young Smith decided she would leave Apple. But based on that timeline, it seems as though Young Smith made up her mind before those comments in Bogotá, Colombia for which she later apologized.
Young Smith’s planned departure from Apple comes shortly after Cornell Tech announced Young Smith would become an executive in residence starting this January. At Cornell Tech, Young Smith will work with students to “build an early career-stage awareness of inclusive leadership and diverse talent,” according to Cornell’s blog.
Earlier this month, Apple released its first and last diversity report under Young Smith’s leadership. As of July 2017, Apple is 32 percent female worldwide. Nationwide, Apple is 54 percent white (down two percentage points from last year), 13 percent Hispanic (up one percentage point), nine percent black (no change), 21 percent Asian (up two percentage points), three percent multiracial (up one percentage point) and one percent other (no change).
At the leadership level, Apple is still predominantly run by men, who make up 71 percent of the leaders at the company worldwide. White people, meanwhile make up 66 percent of the leaders at Apple in the U.S. Meanwhile, only 3 percent of Apple’s leaders in the U.S. are are black, so Young Smith’s departure won’t do anything to help the amount of black representation at the top.
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Megan Rose Dickey