Snapchat Appoints First Black C-Suite Executive

Snap Inc., which is known for the multimedia messaging app Snapchat, announced on April 25 that Kenny Mitchell would join the company as its chief marketing officer (CMO) in June. Mitchell, who would be the first person to hold that position at the company, appears to be the first African American to join Snap’s c-suite. Before joining Snap, Mitchell served as the vice president of marketing at McDonald’s USA. Snap said that Mitchell joins the company as it launches its consumer marketing campaign around its new Android app. In a statement to The North Star, Snap co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel said Mitchell was a “natural fit” for the company.

“Kenny’s consumer marketing expertise and his deep understanding of our products will be a great combination for Snap,” Spiegel said. “Throughout his career, Kenny has demonstrated his ability to successfully execute innovative, global marketing campaigns, many of which have leveraged our own vertical video and augmented reality products.”

Mitchell previously worked as head of consumer engagement at Gatorade, where he oversaw Snapchat’s Gatorade Dunk Augmented Reality (AR) Lens campaign during the Super Bowl. Mitchell also collaborated with Snapchat to create Gatorade’s 8-bit Serena Williams-themed Snap Ad game.

“Snap is a great company with strong values, an inspired vision and innovative products that are empowering its global community. I look forward to helping Evan and Snap continue to tell their story to people around the world, and working with my new colleagues as we define the future of the camera and self-expression,” Mitchell said in a statement to The North Star.

Mitchell joins a mostly male c-suite at Snap. The company’s executive officers include Spiegel, Chief Technology Officer Robert Murphy, General Counsel Michael O’Sullivan, interim CFO Lara Sweet, Senior Vice President of Engineering Jerry Hunter, Chief Business Officer Jeremi Gorman, and Chief Strategy Officer Jared Grusd. While Mitchell is the company’s first African American c-level member, the company has an African American representative on its board of directors, Black Enterprise reported. McAfee CEO Christopher Young joined Snap’s board in October 2016.

The company has been criticized for its lack of diversity in the past. In November 2017, former software engineer Shannon Lubetich sent her colleagues a memo calling out Snap for its failure to promote diversity and for fostering a “sexist” and “toxic” workplace environment. In an interview with Cheddar, Lubetich said the company hosted parties with hired female dancers in revealing clothing and that employees would make sexual jokes in the office.

Following the accusations, Snap released its diversity figures in May 2018 and said that it is working to improve the workplace culture. Just 13 percent of Snap’s technical workforce are women and 22 percent of upper management are women. The number of racial minorities in Snap’s workforce were not released. “We’ve worked hard to make Snap a place where everyone feels respected and everyone can grow,” Hunter told Cheddar at the time. “I’m excited about the progress that we have made this year, but know that we certainly have more work to do.”

About the Author

Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various venues, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.