Twitter Hires A New Diversity Chief From Apple

He’s white, and an LGBT advocate.

Twitter Hires A New Diversity Chief From Apple
[Photo: Vdovichenko Denis via Shutterstock]

Twitter has hired Apple’s Jeffery Siminoff, a former vice president of diversity and inclusion, in a bid to meet its goals for a more diverse workforce.

Jeffrey SiminoffPhoto: via Twitter

The company broke the news on Twitter that Siminoff will replace Janet Van Huysse, the company’s HR chief of six years. Van Huysse recently released new diversity goals for for 2016, which include increasing the number of women at the company to 35%, and to increase underrepresented minorities in the U.S. offices to 11%. Currently, Twitter has about 2,000 employees in the U.S. compared to Apple’s 66,000.

Twitter has been criticized by employees for its lack of diversity, most recently by former engineering manager Leslie Miley, who was laid off from the company in October. “With my departure, Twitter no longer has any managers, directors, or VPs of color in engineering or product management,” Miley wrote on Medium in November.

As the news about Siminoff made the rounds on social media, some criticized the hiring of a white man to the top diversity position at the company. Others praised the move of hiring an “out leader.” In 2010, according to his LinkedIn profile, Siminoff helped organize a summit to convene LGBT executives in the financial sector. He is also the founding member of Out Leadership, a global LGBT leadership organization. Prior to joining Apple, Siminoff worked at Morgan Stanley as an HR director.

The Verge‘s diversity scorecard, which compares tech companies on the basis of diversity, shows that Twitter has a better track record at promoting non-white employees into leadership positions than Apple (Apple’s leadership is 87% white, far above Twitter’s 68%), though Apple’s workforce is much larger.

In 2014, during Siminoff’s tenure at Apple, the company released its first diversity report. One year later, the company made some progress toward inclusion in hiring women, Native Americans, African Americans, and Latinos. In its most recent diversity report, Apple said it hired more than 11,000 women globally in the past year (as of June), up 65% from the previous year. In the U.S., it hired more than 2,200 black employees, a 50% increase from the previous year, and 2,700 Hispanic employees, a 66% increase. Presumably, those numbers include its retail employees. But the overall workforce is still predominantly male and white, which is similar to most technology companies.

About the author

Christina Farr is a San Francisco-based journalist specializing in health and technology. Before joining Fast Company, Christina worked as a reporter for VentureBeat, Reuters and KQED.