Google to evaluate leadership performance in terms of diversity and inclusion

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By 2025, Google aims to have 30% more executives from underrepresented groups: Sundar Pichai (file)

Alphabet Inc’s Google will begin rating its vice presidents and above on team diversity and inclusion performance this year, the company said on Friday in one of several responses to concerns about the treatment of a black scientist.

Timnit Gebru, co-head of Google’s ethical artificial intelligence research team, said in December that Google abruptly fired her after criticizing diversity efforts and threatening to resign.

Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Alphabet and Google, ordered a review of the situation. While Google refused to share certain results, the company announced on Friday that it would hire hiring professionals on sensitive departures of employees.

Mr Pichai said in June that Google plans to have 30% more of its leaders from underrepresented groups by 2025, with a focus on black, Latin American and Native American leaders in the US and female technical leaders worldwide. About 96% of Google’s US leaders at the time were white or Asian, and 73% globally were men.

As a result of the investigation, the company also expanded a commitment announced in June to devote more resources to retaining and developing existing employees, including by expanding a team to deal with disputes between employees and their managers.

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The diversity component of executive performance reviews was not announced beforehand, and the company did not immediately provide details of what would be measured and the impact of pay.

For years, Alphabet had rejected proposals from shareholders and employees to set diversity goals and tie executive compensation to them.

Irene Knapp, a former Google employee who advocated such a proposal at a 2018 Annual General Meeting, said on Friday: “I am delighted that you have met our demand from 2018, which was an absolute minimum that was easy to do immediately should be.”

Assessing managers against diversity goals is becoming more common. McDonald’s Corp on Thursday tied executive rewards to diversity.

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