Apple diversity head Christie Smith exits as company commits to fighting racism

Apple Inc.’s head of diversity and inclusion Christie Smith is leaving the iPhone company.

Last week, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said Apple is launching a $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, adding to the company’s response to the police killing of George Floyd last month. Earlier this month, Cook wrote in a letter to employees and customers that society needs to do more to push equality, particularly for Black people.

“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. Issues of human dignity will not abide standing on the sidelines,” Cook wrote in the letter.

Smith joined Apple in 2017 after 16 years at consultancy Deloitte. Unlike her predecessor, who reported directly to CEO Tim Cook, Smith reported to Apple’s Senior Vice President of Retail and People Deirdre O’Brien.

“Inclusion and diversity are core Apple values and we deeply believe the most diverse teams are the most innovative teams,” Apple said in an emailed statement confirming the news. “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.”

Apple said the move was planned two months ago, though a person familiar with the matter said Smith’s last day was Tuesday.

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