Christie Smith, Apple’s vice president of inclusion and diversity, has left the company after two-and-a-half years in the role. Smith worked under Apple’s SVP of Retail and People Deirdre O’Brien.
Smith’s departure was reported by Bloomberg and confirmed by Apple. Her departure had been planned for a couple of months, but Tuesday was her last day.
“Inclusion and diversity are core Apple values and we deeply believe the most diverse teams are the most innovative teams,” Apple said in a statement. “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.”
No replacement has yet been announced.
The importance of diversity at Apple
Smith was only the second person in Apple history to hold the role of VP of inclusion and diversity. She took over from Denise Young Smith, Apple’s first executive to hold the position, in November 2017. Young Smith had only been in the role for seven months, having been promoted in May 2017. At the time, the role was described as a “significant upscaling” when it came to Apple’s attempts at promoting diversity and inclusion.
Before she joined Apple, Christie Smith worked for 16 years at consultancy firm Deloitte. She then worked as the interim head of human resources for Silicon Valley biotech company Grail. Her LinkedIn profile has not yet been updated to reflect her departure from Apple — or what she is going to do next. However, Apple’s statement to Bloomberg suggests she might plan to take some time off.
Christie Smith’s departure comes at a time when diversity — and, specifically, racial politics — figures heavily in the news. In a message to Apple employees sent this month, CEO Tim Cook wrote: “We’ve always drawn strength from our diversity, welcomed people from every walk of life to our stores around the world, and strived to build an Apple that is inclusive of everyone. But together, we must do more.”