After six months on the job and a controversial remark on the diversity of white men, Apple’s vice president of diversity and inclusion — a Black woman — is stepping down and will be replaced by a white woman.
Denise Young Smith, who has worked for Apple for 20 years, will leave the company at the end of the year and Christie Smith will be her successor, reported TechCrunch.
During the One Young World Summit in Bogotá, Colombia, Young Smith discussed diversity in “life experience” can also come from a room full of white men.
“There can be 12 white, blue-eyed, blond men in a room and they’re going to be diverse too because they’re going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation,” Young Smith said.
“Diversity is the human experience,” she added. “I get a little bit frustrated when diversity or the term diversity is tagged to the people of color, or the women, or the LGBT.”
After her comments, Young Smith received a great deal of backlash and later apologized for her remarks by saying, “were not representative of how I think about diversity or how Apple sees it.”
“For that, I’m sorry,” she said in an email to Apple staff. “More importantly, I want to assure you Apple’s view and our dedication to diversity has not changed.”
Young Smith’s replacement, Christie Smith, spent 17 years as a principal at Deloitte and will report to human resources chief Deirdre O’Brien instead of CEO Tim Cook.
“We deeply believe that diversity drives innovation,” an Apple spokesman told TechCrunch in a statement. “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.”
In 2017, only 3 percent of Apple’s leaders were Black, and women held just 23 percent of tech jobs, according to Fortune. Female leadership stood at 29 percent, Apple said.
(Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Thurgood Marshall College Fund)