Apple changes head of diversity and inclusion

Apple Store Welcomes The World Earth Day

Young Smith's soon-to-be former role involved a "significant upscaling of responsibility" in which she reported directly to CEO Tim Cook, according to sources who spoke to TechCrunch. Smith ran Apple's human resources division before that and has been with the company for 20 years, making this a surprising departure.

But already, Denise Young Smith, one of the most powerful and senior black executives in tech, is planning to leave the company at the end of the year, according to TechCrunch. Apple has selected Christie Smith from Deloitte to replace her.

"We deeply believe that diversity drives innovation", an Apple representative said in a statement Thursday 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". She was named to the newly created vice president role in May after serving as Apple's head of HR.

At that meeting, she publicly said, "And I've often told people a story - there can be 12 white blue-eyed blonde men in a room and they are going to be diverse too because they're going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation".

Last week, Cornell University named Young Smith its new executive-in-residence at Cornell Tech starting in January.

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It is worth noting that even though Apple is putting a great deal of effort in the empowerment of the black workforce, this year's diversity report shows that the number of black women working for the company hasn't increased since last year.

Apple's diversity chief is stepping down just six months after taking on the job after declaring that being minority or a woman are not the only criteria for diversity.

Young Smith was recently in the spotlight after comments she made at a conference in Bogota, Colombia, sparked controversy.

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".

Apple and other tech companies have been trying to diversify their workforce, which includes boosting the number of female and minority employees. The percentage of black, multiracial, and Hispanic employees in leadership did not change, while the proportion of Asians in such roles increased to 23% from 21% past year. The representation of black female workers in the tech industry now stands at 7%, a slight drop from last year's levels (8%).

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