Apple has filled a void on its board of directors with James Bell, the former chief financial officer for aircraft maker Boeing Co.
Bell becomes the only African American on Apple's board, helping the iPhone and iPad maker diversify its corporate hierarchy at a time when major technology companies are under fire for not having enough women and minorities in leadership roles and in their overall workforce.
Apple Inc. already has two women on what is now an eight-director board. Two of Apple's top executives, Lisa Jackson and Denise Young-Smith, are also African Americans.
Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, who has spearheaded the push for greater diversity in Silicon Valley, applauded Apple CEO Tim Cook for bringing Bell on to the board of the Cupertino, California, company.
"We are delighted but not surprised," Jackson said. "Tim Cook has made a wise choice. James Bell is eminently qualified."
Besides serving as Boeing's CFO during his 38-year career at the company, Bell also was interim CEO in 2005. He fills a vacancy created on Apple's board when J. Crew Group CEO Millard "Mickey" Drexler relinquished his spot earlier this year.
Bell also sits on the boards of JP Morgan Chase, Dow Chemical and another technology company, CDW.