Pinterest Inc. has added media industry veteran Salaam Coleman Smith to its board of directors, further diversifying the leadership group after employee claims of racial and gender bias.
Smith was a former top executive at Walt Disney Co.’s ABC Family and was former president of Comcast NBCUniversal’s Style Media. She will join the board Oct. 31, becoming the second female -- and second woman of color -- Pinterest has added as a director since former Chief Operating Officer Francoise Brougher sued the company in early August, claiming she was fired after speaking up about gender discrimination. Two other former employees also alleged racial discrimination and pay discrepancies earlier this year.
“I’ve benefited from strong mentors and workplace cultures and recognize how important it is for all employees to feel championed and heard,” Smith said in a statement. “Through my work on the board, I look forward to helping shape how Pinterest cultivates and supports its incredible talent.”
Smith and Pinterest Chief Executive Officer Ben Silbermann also said that her media experience would help Pinterest attract more creators to its service. When Smith joins the board, four of the company’s 10 directors will be women.
Silicon Valley tech companies have long been dominated by White, male leaders. Many in the industry have made a more concerted effort to diversify their workforces, and companies like Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google now share annual diversity reports about the racial makeup of their employees. In its most recent diversity report, Pinterest said as of 2019 89% of its U.S. employees and 94 per cent of the leadership were White or Asian, and 75 per cent of its global leadership was male.
In August, following Brougher’s lawsuit, hundreds of Pinterest employees staged a virtual walkout demanding changes and transparency about how the company retained and promoted employees of color. An independent review of Pinterest’s workplace culture is ongoing, a company spokesman confirmed.