Published: Mon, November 20, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Ellis Neal

Apple VP of diversity and inclusion Denise Young Smith is leaving

Apple VP of diversity and inclusion Denise Young Smith is leaving

Apple has picked Christie Smith, a 17-year veteran of audit and consulting firm Deloitte, to take over the position next year.

Apple confirmed Smith's leave-taking and the new hire in a statement to TechCrunch, highlighting its belief that diversity drives innovation. She was the company's head of human resources before taking the diversity role.

Denise Young Smith resigns from Apple as its first-ever diversity chief after less than a year.

In October, Young Smith was roundly criticized for her feeble attempt to change the definition of diversity when she told a group of worldwide business leaders: "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". Under CEO Tim Cook's leadership, Apple has put itself at the front of social issues like LGBT rights, racial equality and the tech industry's need to improve workforce diversity.

"We're thrilled to have Denise on board to expand Cornell Tech's commitment to a more diverse pipeline of tech talent", Spitz said in the University press release. 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.

After the statement, many executives in the tech industry began taking bets on how long it would be before Apple got rid of Young Smith like they did the home button, allowing her to start the rap career for which she already has the flawless name. Over the last few months, Apple has been searching for a successor to replace Young Smith.

It is unclear whether Young Smith's departure from Apple will affect the intent of her position at Cornell. It showed some progress in hiring underrepresented minorities, but the percentage of women at the company as of July 2017 didn't change from last year's level of about a third. Nationwide, it is still predominantly comprised of males at 54 percent, which is two percentage points down from a year ago. 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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