In a not-so-surprising move, Apple has appointed Denise Young Smith as its first-ever VP of diversity and inclusion, 9 to 5 Mac first reported. TechCrunch has since confirmed that Smith officially started in this role yesterday.
Smith previously served as head of worldwide human resources at Apple for three years, and has been involved in diversity programs at Apple for years. In her new role, Smith will report directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook. Regarding what happens to the human resources department, sources say the department will report to Apple SVP and CFO Luca Maestri.
Apple’s last head of diversity and inclusion, Jeffrey Siminoff, only held a director role. Given where Smith’s role falls into the leadership structure, Smith will be able to have more of an impact on Apple’s diversity and inclusion initiatives. Sources say this is a “significant upscaling of responsibility” in comparison to the role Siminoff held. Sources say Apple employees view this as a positive move for the company.
Worldwide, Apple is 68 percent male and 32 percent female (In 2015, Apple was 69 percent male and 31 percent female), according to its latest diversity report. In the U.S., Apple is 56 percent white, 19 percent Asian, 12 percent Hispanic and 9 percent black.
“Our inclusion and diversity efforts are critically important to Apple’s future,” an Apple spokesperson said in a statement. “Denise’s years of experience, expertise and passion will help us make an even greater impact in this area.”