Twitter May Shake-Up Its Board To Promote Diversity

By Sameer Rao Nov 09, 2015

Sources indicate that Twitter will be restructring its board of directors to strengthen executive diversity. 

According to a new report from Re/Code, the company’s co-founder and new CEO Jack Dorsey is looking to replace some long-term board members and promote board diversity as part of a longer-standing diversity initiative: 

As part of the expected board change, CEO Jack Dorsey wants to diversify the board, according to sources, meaning the addition of more women and racially diverse board members. Before Omid Kordestani—who was born in Iran—was named Twitter’s chairman early last month replacing former CEO Dick Costolo, the board consisted of seven white men and one white woman.

Twitter’s internal diversity has been under the microscope as of late. Despite the platform’s centrality to movements like #BlackLivesMatter that amplify the voices of the disenfranchised, the company has yet to substantially address its own internal diversity. In fact, a senior black engineer recently left the company because of its inaction in that area. 

In an essay posted to Medium last week, Leslie Miley described the barriers he faced in pursuing diversity initiatives at Twitter before his resignation. Miley, who describes himself as having been "the only African American in Eng[ineering] leadership," wrote at length about a series of events that eventually convinced him that the company wasn’t interested in advancing its diversity. For instance, the company’s senior vice president of engineering declared that he didn’t want diversity initiatives to potentially weaken the hiring pool:

Personally, a particularly low moment was having my question about what specific steps Twitter engineering was taking to increase diversity answered by the Sr. VP of Eng at the quarterly Engineering Leadership meeting. When he responded with “diversity is important, but we can’t lower the bar,” I then realized I was the only African American in Eng leadership.

Although Re/Code’s sources don’t indicate that the board changes are an immediate repsonse to Miley’s post, the timing couldn’t have been more opportune. Prominent #BlackLivesMatter activist DeRay Mckesson joined Dorsey for a Q&A at the company’s headquarters on Friday, where they talked about how BLM grew through the platform. 


That said, Re/Code reports that the board changes likely won’t take effect until next year. 

(H/t Re/CodeGawker, Medium