Apple’s Board Increases Diversity After Longest-Serving Member Retires

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WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images

WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images

Bill Campbell, the longest-serving member of Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) board of directors, is stepping down after seventeen years of service the company announced on Thursday. The board elected BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) co-founder Susan Wagner to replace Campbell, in a move that will expand the diversity of Apple’s board. Before Wagner’s appointment, Apple had only one woman on its board: former Avon (NYSE:AVP) CEO Andrea Jung. Besides Wagner and Jung, all of Apple’s other six board members are white men over the age of fifty.

Campbell is well-known to Apple watchers since he has been involved with the company since 1983, when he was hired as vice president of marketing. In 1997, he was asked by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs to join the board of directors, an event that he recalled in a recent interview with Fortune. “He came by one day, and we sat on a bench by the pool and he said, ‘I’d like you to join the Apple board,’” Campbell told Fortune. “The only time I’ve had a rush like that was when I was asked to be a trustee of Columbia University. I said, without hesitation, ‘For sure.’”

Campbell is the longest-serving board member in the company’s history next to co-founders Steve Jobs and Mike Markkula. As noted by CEO Tim Cook, Campbell joined Apple’s board during a crucial time in the company’s history when it narrowly avoided declaring bankruptcy. “When Bill joined Apple’s board, the company was on the brink of collapse,” said Cook in a press release. “He not only helped Apple survive, but he’s led us to a level of success that was simply unimaginable back in 1997.”

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