Twitter hires VP of Diversity and Inclusion from Apple but some are unhappy with the pick

Jeffrey Siminoff, Apple’s director of worldwide inclusion and diversity, is leaving the company for a similar job at Twitter, the San Francisco tech firm announced on Monday.

But as tech companies including Twitter struggle to create a more diverse workforce, some minority tech workers, diversity advocates and the firm’s former employees voiced their concerns Tuesday about the new hire.

Siminoff had been working on Apple’s diversity efforts since September 2013, according to his LinkedIn profile, after jobs at Morgan Stanley and the law firm Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti.

Erica Baker, an engineer at Slack and former Google employee, wrote in a Medium blog post that some of  her friends who she didn’t name left Apple because they didn’t feel included.

Baker said that the head of diversity at tech companies should be the chief executive, noting that when they want something done their employees move.

“Selecting anyone else, besides the CEO, to run Diversity and Inclusion in the current tech environment is just another half-assed diversity initiative,” she wrote. “Selecting a white guy that’s not the CEO for that role? That’s a signal from Twitter that they’re incapable of hiring anything but white men, even at the top of the organization, even in a role where having the experience and viewpoint of someone other than a white man is critical.”

In August, Twitter announced its diversity goals for 2016, which included increasing the number of women and underrepresented minorities in the company’s tech and leadership roles by certain percentage points.

Overall, the percentage of women at the company worldwide increased this year from 30 to 34 percent, though the percentage of female leaders barely budged. In the United States, the percentage of white employees remained at 59 percent. Asian employees slightly increased, from 29 percent of the overall workforce in 2014 to 31 percent this year. The percentage of black, Hispanic, Native American and other races were relatively the same.


At Apple, the global workforce is still predominately male though the percentage of female employees increased to 31 percent in 2015, an uptick of 1 percent. The percentage of black employees increased by 1 percent in the United States but the percentage of Hispanic and multiracial workers remained the same compared to 2014. The percentage of White employees decreased while the percentage of Asian employees increased, according to data from Apple, which noted that they’ve hired more diverse candidates in 2015 than any other year.

But Twitter also landed in some hot water this summer after throwing a frat-themed party, which included a beer pong table and a pyramid of red cups, at the company’s headquarters in San Francisco.

Some former Twitter employees, who left after the company announced hundreds of layoffs, have expressed doubt that the tech firm will be able to hit its diversity goals this year.

Siminoff takes over for Janet Van Huysse, who led Twitter’s diversity efforts, but is leaving the tech firm after six years.

Photo Credit: Screenshot of Siminoff’s Twitter profile.


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