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Twitter Board to Lose Peter Chernin, Internet Vet Peter Currie

The social-media company gains directors from PepsiCo and the British business elite — but it doesn’t budge much on diversity

Entertainment mogul Peter Chernin and Internet veteran exec Peter Currie will exit the board of Twitter, to be replaced by PepsiCo executive Hugh Johnston and British businesswoman Martha Lane Fox, the company said Friday in a regulatory filing.

The swaps mean two white Twitter directors will be replaced by … two new white board members. It adds a rare woman to the ranks, however.

Twitter, like many top tech companies, has a disproportionately white, male workforce. As the technology industry has grown in influence, effecting global finance and virtually every other industry on the planet, the lack of diversity in its leadership has raised questions about the possibility of unconscious biases.

Twitter’s U.S. workforce is 2 percent black and 3 percent Hispanic, and women make up 30 percent of employees, according to its latest diversity report in 2014. The company was pilloried last year when it hired a new head of diversity and inclusion from Apple, Jeffrey Siminoff: a white man. As the company prepared to go public in 2013, it was criticized for having an entirely white, male board room.

Friday, CEO Jack Dorsey welcomed the new directors and thanked the departing ones in a tweet, followed by a second posting that touched on the company’s diversity track record.

Chernin and Currie, who was the financial chief of Netscape in the 1990s, have terms expiring at the 2016 annual meeting of stockholders and volunteered to not be considered for re-election.

Joining the board is Johnston, financial chief of PepsiCo, and Fox, a U.K. businesswoman who most recently founded and chairs doteveryone.org.uk, an organization advancing Internet-enabled technologies. She also has helped run a travel and leisure website, a private karaoke company, and a 3D printing and game company.