Martha Lane Fox joins Twitter's board to promote diversity

Twitter has appointed UK entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox and Pepsi CFO Hugh Johnston to its board after the departure of former members Peter Currie and Peter Chernin.

Baroness Lane Fox is the co-founder of travel website, member of the House of Lords, and chairwoman of diversity-focused UK organisation Doteveryone, which is working to promote understanding of digital technologies.

Currie and Chernin's terms will end in May following the company's annual meeting, according to Reuters.

Jack Dorsey, chief executive officer at Twitter, wrote in a series of tweets posted on Friday: "Welcome @Marthalanefox and @hughjohnston to the @Twitter board! And thanks to @plscurrie and @PeterChernin for all your years of service!

"More additions to the board soon, ones that will bring diversity and represent the strong communities on Twitter. This matters & is a must."

Announcing the news, Lane Fox tweeted: "I'm joining the board of @twitter Thanks @jack @omidkordestani I can't wait. Best. Job. Ever. Watch out silicon valley :-))".

Twitter was notably criticised for its lack of diversity in November last year, and has since made an effort to change.

Following a blog post written by former engineering manager Leslie Miley in which she criticised the lack of women and people of colour in Twitter's engineering and product division, senior vice president of engineering Alex Roetter responded: "I realise that we have blind spots, myself included.

"One of mine I that I have a tendency to default to engineering-driven, quantitative solutions. The issues Leslie raises require so much more than that. I've learned a lot this week."

The company pledged to increase underrepresented minorities to 11 per cent overall - nine per cent in tech roles and six per cent in leadership roles over the course of 2016.

Some Twitter users questioned the company's commitment to diversity, however.

Referring to those dubbed 'social justice warriors', user @RandomHero30 said: "Your company is falling apart, focus on product and not 1-sided social justice. Ditch the SJWs turned harassers."

Martha Lane Fox has spoken previously about "unconscious bias" in the industry, noting that their is a distinct lack of women in tech teams including product designers, coders, engineers and venture capitalists.

In January, she launched a new competition for female-led start-ups - 5050tech Challenge - which would give entrepreneurs access to mentors, investors and VCs.

Caroline Preece

Caroline has been writing about technology for more than a decade, switching between consumer smart home news and reviews and in-depth B2B industry coverage. In addition to her work for IT Pro and Cloud Pro, she has contributed to a number of titles including Expert Reviews, TechRadar, The Week and many more. She is currently the smart home editor across Future Publishing's homes titles.

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