When members of the Congressional Black Caucus visited Silicon Valley in early August, their message to tech companies was crystal clear: Hire more African-Americans and diversify their boards of directors. Well, it looks like Apple was listening.
Earlier today, the company announced the addition of James Bell, former CFO and president of The Boeing Company, to its board of directors. Bell, an African-American man, is not the first black person to serve on Apple’s board (there was Delano Lewis, the former president and CEO of National Public Radio and former U.S. ambassador to South Africa), but he is the only black person currently serving on the board.
In the last year, 11 percent of Apple’s hires have been black, 13 percent have been Hispanic and 19 percent have been Asian, according to Apple’s most recent diversity report. At the time, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the company is committed to increasing diversity at the company, so it’s nice to see Apple working on this at the board level.
“We look for outstanding individuals to strengthen our board’s breadth of talent and depth of knowledge, and we are very happy to have identified a fantastic person in James Bell,” Apple Chairman Art Levinson said in a statement. “I’m confident that he will make many important contributions to Apple.”
Industry-wide, there were only three black people and one Hispanic person sitting on the boards of directors at 20 major tech companies last year, according to a survey by the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. Today, at tech giants like Facebook and Google, there are zero blacks and zero Hispanics on their boards of directors.