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Sunday, March 23, 2014

What the Tech? Jesse Jackson Criticizes Apple, Google and Others For Lack of Diversity -- Says Tech Companies Have Very Few Minorities in Top Positions

Jesse Jackson

At a recent National Urban League annual conference, the Rev. Jesse Jackson stated that he would lead a delegation to the Hewlett Packard annual shareholder meeting in March to make a point that the tech industry lacks diversity. His specific complaint targeted the poor record of including blacks and Latinos in hiring, board appointments and startup funding.

Why Hewlett Packard?

HP executive vice president Henry Gomez, however, is confused by the focus on HP. The company spent $1 billion in 2013 on minority businesses and another $500 million on women-owned businesses. In addition, he stated, "Today, HP is the largest company in the world with both a female CEO and CFO and nearly half of our leadership team and Board of Directors are women and minorities." Gomez also highlights the company's Minority Business Program which was the first one established in the U.S.

Jackson has nothing against HP. He explained that he is merely using their shareholder meeting as an opportunity to point out the shortcomings within the technology industry when it comes to practicing diversity. The broader issue is that many technology companies fall far short of hiring or spending on minorities in a way that is proportionate to their customers.

How do other technology companies measure up?

Jackson's concerns were released via letter to Apple Inc., Twitter Inc., Facebook Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., Google Inc. and other technology companies. Many already have minorities in top positions within their companies. African Americans in key positions include Microsoft's John Thompson as chairman of the board, Apple's Denise Young-Smith who is the head of the company's human resources department, and Google's chief legal officer, David Drummond, to name a few.
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