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Intel execs receive threats from employees in response to diversity efforts

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich unveils the Quark processor
Not that there’s any need for further proof of tech’s diversity crisis, but if you were looking for some, consider your search ended. According to the CEO of Intel, the primary opposition to the company’s latest diversity and inclusion efforts has come from within the organization. Apparently, maintaining a homogeneous status quo is the chief priority of some Intel employees, leading to “a bit of a backlash” and even threats directed at Intel’s leadership. So yeah, there’s a problem.

Speaking at the PUSHTech 2020 conference on Saturday with Reverend Jesse Jackson in San Francisco, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich admitted that not everyone at his tech firm has been excited about the recent efforts to increase the proportion of underrepresented minorities at the company and in the industry at large.

“People worry that as a white man, you’re kind of under siege to a certain extent,” Krzanich said. “There’s been a bit of resistance. We’ve even had a few threats and things like that on some of our leadership team around our position on diversity and inclusion. We stand up there and just remind everybody it’s not an exclusive process. We’re not bringing in women or African-Americans or Hispanics in exclusion to other people. We’re actually just trying to bring them in and be a part of the whole environment.”

Just over a year ago, Krzanich dedicated an impressive $300 million to diversity efforts, and since then, the company has seen a 30-percent increase in its minority workforce. In the last year, the executive pointed out that 43.3 percent of its new hires were either women or minorities, and the company is planning on releasing a diversity report that will include employee pay reflecting gender and race.

“We are going with the data and we are going public,” Krzanich said. “I almost hope there are gaps, not because I want people to be underpaid, but because it’s a problem I can fix. I’m an engineer, I like fixing problems.” Now, if only we could get all of Intel (and the tech industry) to help fix the problem, too. 

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