Cynthia Bowman named new Apple head of diversity

BY Preta Peace Namasaba May 24, 2024 6:35 AM EDT

Apple has appointed banking expert Cynthia Bowman as the company’s new Vice President of Inclusion and Diversity. She will take over for Barbara Whye, who took the job in early 2021 and plans to retire in the fall. Bowman is the fourth person to step into the role as the tech giant seeks to make its workforce more inclusive.

“We are excited that Cynthia Bowman will serve as Apple’s next Vice President of Inclusion and Diversity. Cynthia is an accomplished leader in her field and is deeply committed to the work we’re doing to advance inclusion and diversity at Apple,” an Apple spokesperson said.

Bowman will report to Apple’s chief people officer, Carol Surface, and work alongside Whye to transition into her new role. She will work with groups within the company to support diversity, including Apple’s flagship Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI) program, which focuses on economic equality, education, and criminal justice reform. REGI was launched in 2020 to address systemic racism in response to George Floyd’s murder and the Black Lives Matter movement and has grown from an initial commitment of $100 million to more than $200 million.

Although Apple has made progress in improving diversity in its workforce, the share of underrepresented minorities has not greatly increased. Its data shows that the percentage of the company’s Black employees in America increased from 7% to 9% between 2014 and 2022. Its Asian employees doubled to 30 percent and Latino workers rose from 11 percent to 15 percent.

Her appointment comes at a time when Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives are facing backlash in corporate America. According to Forrester Research, the proportion of US companies that fund a DEI function is set to drop to 20% by the end of this year. Apple’s push for diversity and inclusion remains one of its core tenets with a dedicated website to showcase the efforts.