Apple diversity chief Christie Smith reportedly leaving company


Apple’s diversity chief is reportedly leaving the company.

James Martin/CNET

Apple’s head of diversity and inclusion is reportedly leaving the company as tech giants ramp up efforts to fight racial injustice and inequality in the wake of protests over the death of George Floyd.

Christie Smith, who took on the roll in 2017, left the company on Tuesday, Bloomberg reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.

Smith’s departure comes as several tech companies speak out in support of protests around the country sparked by the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, after a white police officer jammed a knee onto his neck for nearly nine minutes. Last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the company would launch a Racial Equity and Justice Initiative with a $100 million commitment.

Cook has also called for his company to do more to create change in an open letter on racism.

“To create change, we have to reexamine our own views and actions in light of a pain that is deeply felt but too often ignored,” reads the letter, which was published on Apple’s website. “Issues of human dignity will not abide standing on the sidelines. To the Black community — we see you. You matter and your lives matter.”

Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the search giant would give $12 million, and Amazon said it will donate $10 million. Facebook, Verizon, Intel, TikTok and other companies have also said they’ll give funds to various groups focused on social justice and aiding black communities.

Before joining Apple, Smith spent 17 years at Deloitte and served as head of human resources at cancer detection startup Grail, according to her LinkedIn profile. She replaced Denise Young Smith, who left the company after less than a year in the position to be executive-in-residence at Cornell University. Instead of reporting directly to Cook, Smith reported to Deidre O’Brien, Apple’s vice president of retail and people.

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment but confirmed the departure to Bloomberg.

“Inclusion and diversity are core Apple values and we deeply believe the most diverse teams are the most innovative teams,” Apple said in a statement to Bloomberg. “Christie Smith will be leaving Apple to spend more time with her family and we wish her well. Our Inclusion and Diversity team continues to report directly to Deirdre O’Brien on the Executive Team.”

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