Snap has brought on its first-ever diversity and inclusion lead, former Google Director of Diversity Strategy Oona King.
In a memo sent to Snap employees today, Snap Chief People Officer Lara Sweet announced King’s hiring. Although Snap is late in the game of hiring a diversity lead and has yet to release a diversity report, Sweet said Snap wants to “lead by example and contribute to human progress by breaking down systemic barriers that lead to people feeling excluded.”
This comes shortly after reports surfaced that Snap paid settlements to at least three female employees who alleged they were laid off due to their gender. And about one year ago, a former Snap engineer‘s email surfaced from November 2017 that criticized the company for having a toxic and sexist culture that is unwelcome to people of color and women. The former Snap engineer, Shannon Lubetich, described how Snap is not adequately promoting diversity at the company.
“The letter was a really good wake-up call for us,” Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said last May at a tech conference.
Spiegel described how, in light of the letter, Snap hired external consultants to help the company figure out areas in which to improve. Snap also ran a company-wide survey and changed its promotion structure, Spiegel said.
While Snap has previously said it provides diversity numbers to its employees, the company has yet to publicly produce a diversity report, unlike its many peers in the tech industry.
Here’s the full memo Sweet sent to employees:
At Snap we are deeply committed to making progress on Diversity & Inclusion. We want to lead by example and contribute to human progress by breaking down systemic barriers that lead to people feeling excluded. And we know we have to start at home: ensuring Snap’s employee culture represents the diversity of our global users is critical to our success.
As a part of this commitment, I’m very excited to announce Oona King as Snap’s first VP of Diversity and Inclusion. Oona comes to us from Google, where she is Director of Diversity Strategy. She brings extensive experience from a variety of industries including technology, media, and politics, having been an advisor to the British Prime Minister on issues of equality and the second black woman elected to British Parliament earlier in her career. She also held Head of Diversity and Inclusion roles at both YouTube and the British Broadcaster, Channel 4. Oona will report to me, and help ensure our diversity and inclusion efforts are even more impactful – both within the company and across our products and content. Oona starts on June 11.
We’re so excited to have Oona join us, to help us build diversity and inclusion into everything we do – from how we build teams, to how we create products and content. We’re confident she will help us make Snap a more diverse and inclusive company at all levels, so please join me in welcoming Oona to Snap — we can’t wait to have her on the team!