Twitter hired Jeffery Siminoff, a 50-year-old former Apple executive, as its new “vice president of diversity and inclusion” on Dec. 29, replacing Janet Van Huysse.
Before joining Apple, whose leadership continues to be dominated by white men, he was in charge of diversity at investment bank Morgan Stanley, whose operating committee and board of directors are, like most Wall Street banks, not very diverse.
Siminoff himself appears to be a relative newcomer to Twitter—he has Tweeted less than 850 times, and had fewer than 1,000 followers as of Dec. 30. During his stint at the investment bank, he helped organize a summit on increasing LGBT presence on Wall Street, and in recent months he has Tweeted from Austin’s gay pride march.
The hire is being criticized as the latest gaffe by Twitter’s maddeningly out-of-touch management, one that has seemed to alternately ignore and condescend its 320 million monthly active users, even as the company has fallen out of favor with investors.
Nearly 80% of Twitter’s accounts are from outside the United States, and its greatest penetration among internet users is in the Middle East and Africa. Black and Hispanic adults make up more than 30% of the company’s US users, as former engineer Leslie Miley wrote last year, but less than 5% of its management. Siminoff joins a 10-person management team that, with the exception of legal counsel and public relations, is entirely made up of white men.
Nonetheless, the social media outlet continues to be a relevant, vital part of a global conversation about everything everything from Black feminism to censorship in Turkey to ISIL’s recruitment tactics. Given Twitter’s diverse pool of users, the social media outlet’s role in that conversation is unlikely to change, no matter how homogeneous its management is.