After finding herself caught in the midst of controversy surrounding her comments on diversity in the workplace, Apple’s head of Diversity and Inclusion Denise Young Smith has decided to resign, Business Insider reported.
Smith was stepping down from her position after only six months of serving as the tech giant’s vice president of Diversity & Inclusion. Smith was the first person to take on the D&I role at the company. Prior to joining the Apple team and becoming one of the most powerful Black women in Silicon Valley, she worked at Deloitte as a managing principal.
Smith made headlines after facing backlash for remarks that she shared during the One Young World Summit in Bogota, Colombia last month. While speaking about diversity during the event she said that in her role she focuses on all of the company’s employees, not just those from underrepresented groups. “Diversity is the human experience. 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,” she said, according to Black Enterprise. “There can be 12 white, blue-eyed, blonde 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.” After landing in hot water for her remarks, Smith issued an apology.
Business Insider reports that Christie Smith will serve as her replacement. The company has publicly shared that they will be bringing Smith on board. “We deeply believe that diversity drives innovation,” said an Apple rep. “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.”
According to Black Enterprise, Smith will become an executive-in-residence at Cornell Tech next year.
Like many other tech giants in Silicon Valley, Apple has struggled to increase diversity within their company which is why Smith was brought on board. Last year, a diversity report showed that out of 107 high-level executives at Apple, only 20 were women and only five executives identified as Black, Latino or Native American.