Denise Young Smith, who was named Apple’s vice president of diversity and inclusion in May, is “stepping down” after saying white people can be diverse last month.
During a summit in Colombia, Young Smith, a black woman, claimed she likes to focus “on everyone” and that “diversity goes beyond race, gender, and sexual orientation.”
“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,” Young Smith declared, sparking controversy. “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.”
Young Smith later apologized, claiming her comments “were not representative of how I think about diversity or how Apple sees it.”
“For that, I’m sorry,” she proclaimed following the incident. “More importantly, I want to assure you Apple’s view and our dedication to diversity has not changed.”
Young Smith will reportedly leave the company by the end of the year, with Deloitte’s Christie Smith, a white woman, taking over her position.
“We deeply believe that diversity drives innovation,” said an Apple spokesman in a statement. “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.”