The Rev. Jesse Jackson has some harsh criticism for Microsoft and other the rest of the white- and male-dominated U.S. technology industry.
The civil rights activist thinks Microsoft at least is on the right track, though. Chief Executive Satya Nadella and other Microsoft executives sat down with Jackson on Monday. Here’s Jackson’s take on their meeting, in an interview with The Seattle Times:
We sat down and had a very good meeting. I think Microsoft sees their future growth is in inclusion.
One sees in Microsoft a much bigger willingness and effort to move toward some plan. I think they get it.
We’re going to the next step. We’re going from ‘here’s how bad we are’ to planning for goals, targets and timetables.
Jackson plans to speak at Microsoft’s shareholders meeting tomorrow at the invitation of the company. If his comments today are any indication, the discussion could be a shade less contentious than a 10-minute back and forth with Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman at that company’s investor gathering in March.
Microsoft’s highest echelons do include an African American board chairman, Indian chief executive, and white female chief financial officer. But the big-picture statistics show the company’s diversity efforts in a much less flattering light: Microsoft is 61 percent white, and 71 percent male. Those percentages rise if you focus on Microsoft’s leadership or technology roles.
Read the rest of our interview with Jackson here.