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.
“James brings a wealth of global, financial and industrial experience from his successful career at Boeing as corporate president and CFO,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “I am thrilled to welcome him to Apple’s board of directors and I look forward to working with him.”
Apple 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.
“We look for outstanding individuals to strengthen our board’s breadth of talent and depth of knowledge, and we are very happy to have identified a fantastic person in James Bell,” said Art Levinson, Apple’s chairman. “I’m confident that he will make many important contributions to Apple.”
Bell brings more than four decades of experience in finance, strategic planning and leadership in complex organizations. During his 38-year career at Boeing, he also oversaw Boeing Capital Corporation and Boeing Shared Services, and was interim CEO of The Boeing Company in 2005.
“I am an avid user of Apple products and have a tremendous respect for the company’s ability to innovate,” said Bell. “I am delighted to join the Apple board and look forward to contributing to its continued success in any way I can.”
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.