Two Silicon Valley giants are taking strides toward diversity this week, with Apple adding James Bell, an African-American business executive, to its board of directors while Dropbox has hired Judith Michell Williams, an African-American woman formerly with Google, to serve as its global head of diversity.
Apple's appointment of Bell, who previously served as the chief financial officer and corporate president of Boeing, makes him one of the few underrepresented minorities serving at the board level of any tech company. Apple has committed itself to bring more diversity to the workplace, this time doing so at its leadership level.
“James brings a wealth of global, financial and industrial experience from his successful career at Boeing as corporate president and CFO,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement. “I am thrilled to welcome him to Apple’s board of directors and I look forward to working with him.”
Up the road in San Francisco, Dropbox also made a significant executive move. Though the cloud-computing company has yet to announce Williams, sources with familiar with the matter confirmed the move to International Business Times.
Williams comes to Dropbox after serving as global diversity and inclusion manager at Google for more than four years. She will be tasked with improving Dropbox's poor diversity figures (1 percent black, 4 percent Hispanic, 34 percent women) and drastically shifting Dropbox's company culture.
Both of these appointments were hailed by the Rainbow PUSH Colation and civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson, who said these hires prove the tech industry does not have a talent-deficit problem but rather a lack of opportunities for women and underrepresented minorities. "You fish for fish, and there are fish," Jackson said. "You reach for talent, and talent exists. The talent does exist."
Besides Apple, Hewlett-Packard also recently brought more diversity to its leadership, adding several women and African-Americans to the boards of HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise -- the two companies it will split into come November.