Pinterest’s new D&I chief will report directly to CEO

Dive Brief:

  • As Pinterest faces a lawsuit alleging bias in hiring, promotion and compensation, the tech company named Tyi McCray as its new global head of inclusion and diversity, according to an Aug. 31 announcement. For the first time, the position will be within Pinterest’s executive management team. McCray will report directly to Pinterest co-founder and CEO Ben Silbermann.
  • McCray, who has leadership experience in both the private and academia sectors, will lead Pinterest’s strategy and programming to create an inclusive and diverse culture “reflecting our global audience of over 400 million Pinners,” according to the company. “In my short time working with the Pinterest team and Ben, I’ve seen a real acknowledgement about the hard work and commitment that will be needed from all of us to get us to where we want to be as an organization,” McCray said in her statement. In June, the company committed to “a deeper focus” on increasing diversity at senior levels. 
  • Candice Morgan was hired as Pinterest’s first head of inclusion and diversity in 2016. Morgan was at the company for four years, leaving in January to join the venture firm GV as it’s first equity, diversity and inclusion partner, according to a LinkedIn post.

Dive Insight:

Pinterest and other major tech companies have made gains in overall workforce diversity, but there has been less improvement at the senior leadership level, some employers’ diversity reports show.

Pinterest exceeded set goals for underrepresented engineers and the hiring rate for underrepresented employees across the country, according to its diversity and inclusion report released earlier this year. However, men represent 75% of leaders and White individuals represent 64% of leaders. Meanwhile, the representation of Black and Latinx leaders is at 1% and 2%, respectively. Notably, Pinterest has been accused of pay discrimination at its executive leadership and managerial levels.

Francoise Brougher, a former chief operating officer at Pinterest, filed a lawsuit Aug. 11 alleging that in her leadership role she was offered a less desirable equity package than male peers and that she was excluded from decision-making. Brougher claimed that pointing out Pinterest’s alleged discriminatory practices in hiring, promotion and compensation led to her dismissal. 

Ifeoma Ozoma and Aerica Shimizu Banks, two former Pinterest employees, made allegations similar to Brougher’s complaint. Ozoma started in July 2018 as the public policy and social impact manager. Banks, also a public policy and social impact manager, began at Pinterest in May 2019. Both women claimed their attempts to achieve fair pay were rejected and they endured retaliation, according to The Washington Post. Ozoma and Banks left their jobs at Pinterest in May 2020. 

As demonstrations calling for racial justice took place around the nation in June, Pinterest tweeted June 3, “Black Lives Matter” sharing a blog post by Silbermann outlining the company’s initiatives. Ozoma tweeted a thread in response. “I owe it to myself and Black colleagues still there to hold the company to the commitments it made,” she said. “Pinterest, Black employees do indeed matter. Pay us fairly.” 

In June, Pinterest announced that a special committee of its board of directors had tapped Danielle Conley of WilmerHale “to conduct a comprehensive and independent review of our policies and practices concerning discrimination, harassment and other workplace issues.” In August, Andrea Wishom, president at Skywalker Holdings and a former executive at Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Studios, was appointed to the board. Wishom is the first Black woman to become a Pinterest board member

Attention to diversity may have multiple business upsides, studies have shown. Tech companies with more racial diversity in upper management than lower management out-produced firms with more diversity in lower management, a study published June 9 in the Academy of Management Journal found. Academic researchers analyzed 201 high tech firms’ EEO-1 data.

“As a diversity and inclusion professional, my line of work in particular has evolved and — though our work was always absolutely pivotal — the vital nature of what we do has come into focus more now than ever before,” McCray said.

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