Intel CEO Brian Krzanich made some big commitments to improve diversity at Intel and in the tech industry a year ago. Today, he updated everyone on Intel’s progress.
He also announced a new initiative to combat online harassment — a problem that he said “affects all of us” — during his keynote speech at the opening of the 2016 International CES, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas.
In the past year, Intel’s new hires were 43 percent women and underrepresented minorities. The company tied the hiring to manager bonuses, and level beat its goal of 40 percent, Krzanich said. On top of that, he added, retention of women and underrepresented minorities is on par with that of non-diverse employees.
These new announcements are a follow-up to Krzanich’s promise at last year’s CES that Intel would invest more than $300 million to diversify the talent represented in the technology industry. It is a huge commitment that dwarfs other efforts to change the face of Silicon Valley.
“The responsibility to be a leader in every sense grows,” Krzanich said in his speech before about 5,000 tech people. “I’ve been on stage twice. Each time I have used this opportunity to raise an issue. I thought I would update you on the commitments we have already made, because I believe that commitments need to be kept.”
He added, “I did this for one simple reason. If we want tech to define the future, we must be representative of that future. This generally leads to better business results.” With that in mind, Krzanich said that Intel would set new goals to advance diversity and inclusion.
He also announced the new industry alliance to deal with online harassment and spoke about the need to address this issue. “Online harassment is more pervasive and vicious than ever before,” he said. “We must remember that behind every device, every game, every connection, every tweet, is a real person. With real needs for safety and inclusion.”
Intel said last year that it would set up a $125 million fund to invest in companies owned by women and underrepresented minorities. Intel asserts that its investment in women and underrepresented minorities — which is defined as African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans — is the largest of its kind.
The categories for investment include both technology companies and gaming. The majority of the money comes from Intel Capital’s existing budget, with the addition of money that Krzanich set aside in January for a broader effort.
The fund is just one part of Intel’s Diversity in Technology Initiative, announced in January, which is aimed at helping the company reach full representation of women and underrepresented minorities in its U.S. workforce by 2020.