Apple’s first VP of inclusion and diversity, Denise Young Smith, will be leaving Apple at the end of 2017 after only 6 months in office. Smith was in charge of Apple’s human resources division before this new role and has been at the company for 20 years.
The position will be filled by Christie Smith, a 17-year veteran of audit and consulting firm Deloitte next year.
Apple released a statement about the departure and the hire that stated, “We deeply believe that diversity drives innovation. 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.”
News of the first Smith’s departure comes one month after she made some shockingly controversial comments about diversity while at a conference.
“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,” she said at the time.
The comment was seen by many as a defense of Apple’s overwhelmingly white, male leadership. Smith went on to apologize in an email to the staff at Apple.
The company’s diversity is slowly improving but it still has a long way to go. It is difficult to tell how much of an impact Smith had during her tenure because the company has to wait for turnover to replace the workers with a more diverse group.