Apple’s head of diversity and inclusion Christie Smith has stepped away from the firm, following the launch of its $100m fund to tackle racism.
Smith is said to have officially left her role this week, though her move was planned two months ago, Bloomberg reported.
Apple committed $100m to a new programme dedicated to racial justice last week, in the wake of widespread protests globally in support of racial equality, after the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis last month.
The Apple Racial Equity and Justice Initiative will be led by the firm’s vice president of environment, social and policy initiatives Lisa Jackson.
The news comes as chief executive Tim Cook faces pressure to make himself available to testify before US Congress later this year, as other major tech bosses fall into line.
Amazon said earlier this week it would make chief Jeff Bezos available to give evidence as part of a wide-ranging antitrust investigation into Big Tech. Facebook and Google later followed suit, putting Mark Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai also up on the block.
Apple has so far committed to sending a “senior executive” to testify before the House Judiciary Committee this summer, but stopped short of promising Cook’s attendance.
The iPhone maker is also facing heat in Europe, after the European Commission yesterday announced two new antitrust cases against the firm.
Apple’s practice of charging a 30 per cent commission fee for all sales and subscriptions made through its App Store has prompted a number of companies to call its policy “hostile”, claiming it unfairly benefits Apple over third party sellers. Its Apple Pay system is also under scrutiny.
Apple hit back strongly at the complaints, saying in a statement: “It’s disappointing the European Commission is advancing baseless complaints from a handful of companies who simply want a free ride, and don’t want to play by the same rules as everyone else.”
“We don’t think that’s right — we want to maintain a level playing field where anyone with determination and a great idea can succeed.”