(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. hired a new diversity chief for the fourth time in recent years as the iPhone maker seeks to make its workforce more inclusive.

Banking veteran Cynthia Bowman is taking over the role from Barbara Whye, becoming vice president of inclusion and diversity. Bowman left Bank of America Corp. earlier this year after a 17-year career there, serving most recently as chief diversity, inclusion and social responsibility officer.

“We are excited that Cynthia Bowman will serve as Apple’s next Vice President of Inclusion and Diversity,” an Apple spokesperson said in a statement. “Cynthia is an accomplished leader in her field and is deeply committed to the work we’re doing to advance inclusion and diversity at Apple.”

The company added that “Whye’s retirement is planned for this fall and she and Cynthia are working together to successfully transition this vitally important work.” Whye, a former Intel Corp. executive, took the job in early 2021.

Like other tech giants, Apple has been working to make its staff more representative — with mixed results. It’s also faced turnover in the top diversity job. The first executive in the role, human resources executive Denise Young Smith, was out after less than a year in 2017. She was replaced by Christie Smith, who left in 2020.

The job involves reporting to Apple’s chief people officer, Carol Surface, and working with groups within the company to support diversity. Apple also has a $200 million Racial Equity and Justice initiative that focuses on education, criminal justice reform and economic equality.

The Cupertino, California-based company has made progress improving diversity in its workforce, though the share of underrepresented minorities hasn’t increased dramatically.

Between 2014 and 2022, the percentage of Black employees rose to about 9% from 7% in the US. The number of Asian employees doubled to 30%, while the share of Latino workers increased to 15% from 11%. Globally, women account for 35% of Apple’s workforce, up from 30% in 2014. The company hasn’t published new numbers on its website since 2022.

At the same time, the broader push for diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, has faced a backlash in corporate America. The proportion of US companies that fund a DEI function is set to drop to just 20% by the end of this year, compared with 33% in 2022, according to Forrester Research. 

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.