Written By: Terry Collins 29/12/15
The social network, publicly criticized for its lack of diversity, snags Jeffrey Siminoff from Apple where he held a similar position.
Twitter is hiring a former Apple executive to become its new vice president for diversity and inclusion, after facing harsh criticism in the past few months for its nondiverse workforce.
Jeffrey Siminoff is replacing Janet Van Huysse, who held the position at the social network for six years. Twitter’s head of human resources Brian Schipper tweeted the announcement on Monday.
Siminoff tweeted Monday he’s “super excited” to be joining Twitter sometime next month. He was Apple’s director of worldwide inclusion and diversity for more than two years, according to his LinkedIn profile. Siminoff also led global diversity and inclusion efforts at Morgan Stanley for three years. He’s also a founding member of Out Leadership, a global LGBT leadership organization.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Van Huysse tweeted Monday that after “6 incredible years, it’s time for my next chapter.”
Siminoff will likely work quickly to make the San Francisco-based microblogging service more diverse. In November, a former high-ranking Twitter engineer who is black publicly questioned the company’s commitment to diversity. The topic remains a thorny issue across Silicon Valley as Twitter and other tech giants including Apple, Facebook and Intel are wrestling with how to make their male-dominated and largely white workforces more inclusive.
Last month, former Twitter engineer Leslie Miley, wrote in a blog post that the lack of African-Americans, Hispanics and women on Twitter’s engineering team is hurting the company. He cited a Pew Research Center survey that revealed about a quarter of African-Americans and Hispanics online said they use Twitter, a sharp contrast to the company’s employee ranks.
Twitter’s current US workforce is 2 percent African-American and 4 percent Hispanic, while women make up 13 percent of its ranks globally. The social network has said it wants to increase minorities in tech jobs in the United States to 9 percent and in leadership roles to 6 percent.
During a ceremony this month honoring those trying to make the tech industry more inclusive, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said his company wants to be as diverse as its 320 million global users.
“We really need to be reflective of the people that we serve, what their concerns are, how they want to participate in the world, what communities they’re a part of and build tools to make their lives easier,” he said.