Apple Pushes Diversity, Appoints African-American To Board

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Apple named a new member to its board on Thursday, James A. Bell, who has been the highest-ranking African-American employee in Boeing’s history. Bell spent 38 years with the aircraft maker before retiring as its chief financial officer in 2012. In 2005, he also served Boeing as its interim CEO.

No Apple is not making planes

Bell is also a board member at JPMorgan Chase, Dow Chemical and CDW and is also a trustee of Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center. Bell, who is delighted to be a part of Apple’s board, said he is an avid user of the company’s products and respects Apple for its ability to innovate.

Apple is the most valuable company in the world and is rumored to be developing an electric car as well. It is expected that the newest board member will bring additional manufacturing chops to the company. Expecting Apple to make an airplane will be too much though. Earlier this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook was questioned at the BoxWorks conference about if the company was working on a plane, to which Cook casually replied, “We don’t have an iPlane.”

“James brings a wealth of global, financial and industrial experience from his successful career at Boeing as corporate president and CFO. I am thrilled to welcome him to Apple’s board of directors,” Cook said.

Pushing diversity

Apple’s board is comprised of eight members, with Bell being the only African-American member on it. There are two women on the board – Grameen America CEO Andrea Jung and BlackRock co-founder Susan Wagner. Cook, Disney CEO Robert Iger, former U.S. vice president Al Gore, former Genentech CEO Arthur Levinson (serving as chairman) and Ronald Sugar, former CEO of Northrop Grumman (a defense contractor) are the other members of the board.

Millard “Mickey” Drexler, who had served Apple as a director since 1999, retired from the board in March. In July 2014, Intuit Chairman Bill Campbell also retired from the board and was replaced by Wagner.

In August, Apple said it hired more women and underrepresented minorities last year. Major Silicon Valley firms are working to balance their employee composition, which presently is predominantly white and male.

On Thursday, Apple shares closed down 0.65% at $109.58. Year to date, the stock is down by almost 3% while in the last year, shares are up by almost 9%.

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