Airbnb hired David J. King III as its first director of diversity, part of a broader move by technology companies to build more inclusive work forces.
Mr. King has worked on diversity issues for more than 10 years, first as the chief for diversity management and outreach at the State Department and most recently as director of the office of civil rights and diversity for the Peace Corps. At Airbnb, he will be in charge of making the company and the community of travelers that it supports more diverse.
Airbnb’s mission “is to create a world where people can belong anywhere,” Mr. King said.
The hiring is the latest move by a tech company to counter the industry’s poor track record in encouraging a diverse employee base. Over the last few years, tech companies including Google, Apple and Facebook have published diversity reports that show that their work forces are overwhelmingly male and white. Companies including Twitter have appointed executives to improve diversity efforts.
Airbnb, an app that lets people rent out space in their homes, is used in more than 190 countries and 34,000 cities. The company, which is privately held, is valued at around $25.5 billion.
The company released a diversity report in October, showing that its work force is 54 percent male and 63 percent white. In December, a Harvard Business School paper found that it was harder for hosts on Airbnb to book guests if they had names that sounded African-American.
Since Airbnb is built on a diverse community of hosts and guests around the world, the company should have “the same goals for diversity within Airbnb,” said Brian Chesky, Airbnb’s co-founder and chief executive, in a statement.
In addition to hiring Mr. King, Airbnb is partnering with two women’s nonprofit groups. The company will work with the Global Fund for Womento support travel for female leaders and activists who attend training and speaking engagements across the globe. It is also working with Vital Voices, a global mentoring program, to support the travel needs of its entrepreneurs.