Six months after taking Apple's diversity and inclusion chief post at Apple, Denise Young Smith is resigning. She plans to part with the company at the end of 2017 and will be replaced by Christie Smith, a veteran of the accounting firm Deloitte LLP.
Apple Diversity Boss Leaves Post
Smith's departure comes as a surprise. She was put into the diversity role in May, but she'd been with the company 20 years prior, having overseen the Apple's human resources division.
Apple confirmed Smith's leave-taking and the new hire in a statement to TechCrunch, highlighting its belief that diversity drives innovation.
A Group Of White Men Can Be Diverse
Smith's resignation comes a month after the diversity boss shared some comments that were criticized and deemed as controversial. While discussing diversity in a panel about racial injustice, she argued that even if there were "12 white, blue-eyed, blonde men in a room," they're going to be "diverse too because they're going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation."
Her statement quickly went viral and got chastised for seemingly defending Apple's mostly white and male leadership climate, at a time, no less, when diversity at its executive level is severely imbalanced. Smith later apologized for her remarks in an email she sent to Apple staff.
Apple released its first diversity report under Smith's leadership last week, showing that 46 percent of Apple's total U.S. workforce is made up of non-white employees. But even still, diversity at the executive level is still lacking, with 81 percent of its senior officials being males and 82 percent of them being white.
While Apple's diversity is improving, it's still miles away from where Apple wants to be and seems to be progressing quite slowly. Part of this is because of high retention rates at the company, which means more people stay rather leave. But the numbers are bound to change if Apple keeps its diversity efforts up, but don't expect them to happen overnight.
With those in mind, it's quite hard to pinpoint exactly how much of an impact Smith has had during her brief stint as Apple's diversity and inclusion chief. Considering that this was a very sudden departure, it's possible that Apple wasn't happy with how diversity was progressing and chose to go with Christie Smith instead. But considering Apple's diversity chief had spent 20 years at the company already, it's possible she was simply seeking change.
What do you make of Smith's sudden departure? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!