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Major Shakeup at Apple: 2 Top Execs Leaving, Jony Ive & Others Have Roles Expanded

Scott Forstall

Apple has announced some major changes to their top management team this afternoon. These include the departure of two high-profile executives: Scott Forstall, who has been their Senior VP in charge of iOS, and John Browett, the (still fairly new) head of their retail operations.

There’s also a major expansion of the role of a few key Apple executives. Jony Ive will now ‘provide leadership and direction for Human Interface across the company’; Eddy Cue will have responsibility for Siri and Maps added to his current role focused on online services; Craig Federighi will take the lead for both iOS and OS X; and Bob Mansfield will lead a new group called Technologies.

This seems like the sort of shakeup that begs a number of questions. Here are just a few that occur to me:

— Browett created controversy early on in his time at Apple by appearing to shift focus in their retail stores to the bottom line and away from a focus on customer experience, and also with his seemingly harsher attitude towards retail staff. Did Apple decide he just doesn’t ‘get’ Apple retail?

— Forstall had been seen as a rising star and perhaps the most likely to succeed Steve Jobs before Tim Cook took over the CEO role. Now he’s leaving next year and it appears he’s already out of his role in leading the iOS team. It will be very interesting to hear more on the reasons for his seemingly sudden departure – and I have a feeling we will learn more on this once some of the tech writers with deep Apple connections start talking about this.

— Federighi’s new role seems significant too – taking charge of both iOS and OS X. A sign that the mobile and desktop operating systems will continue to move closer together or eventually become just one OS?

— Is there now less harmony in the Apple management team than there was under Steve Jobs? That almost feels like an unfair question since Tim Cook has not been in charge for that long – but it does seem like the pace of execs leaving the company has increased a bit of late.

Anyway, I’m not generally one to be fascinated with management and personnel changes at tech companies, even Apple – but this latest reshuffle just seems very interesting. I can’t wait to hear what light Gruber and some of the other insiders can shed on this.

Here’s the full Apple press release today on this:

Apple® today announced executive management changes that will encourage even more collaboration between the Company’s world-class hardware, software and services teams. As part of these changes, Jony Ive, Bob Mansfield, Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi will add more responsibilities to their roles.

Apple also announced that Scott Forstall will be leaving Apple next year and will serve as an advisor to CEO Tim Cook in the interim.
“We are in one of the most prolific periods of innovation and new products in Apple’s history,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The amazing products that we’ve introduced in September and October, iPhone 5, iOS 6, iPad mini, iPad, iMac, MacBook Pro, iPod touch, iPod nano and many of our applications, could only have been created at Apple and are the direct result of our relentless focus on tightly integrating world-class hardware, software and services.”
Jony Ive will provide leadership and direction for Human Interface (HI) across the company in addition to his role as the leader of Industrial Design. His incredible design aesthetic has been the driving force behind the look and feel of Apple’s products for more than a decade.
Eddy Cue will take on the additional responsibility of Siri® and Maps, placing all of our online services in one group. This organization has overseen major successes such as the iTunes Store®, the App Store℠, the iBookstore℠ and iCloud®. This group has an excellent track record of building and strengthening Apple’s online services to meet and exceed the high expectations of our customers.
Craig Federighi will lead both iOS and OS X®. Apple has the most advanced mobile and desktop operating systems, and this move brings together the OS teams to make it even easier to deliver the best technology and user experience innovations to both platforms.
Bob Mansfield will lead a new group, Technologies, which combines all of Apple’s wireless teams across the company in one organization, fostering innovation in this area at an even higher level. This organization will also include the semiconductor teams, who have ambitious plans for the future.
Additionally, John Browett is leaving Apple. A search for a new head of Retail is underway and in the interim, the Retail team will report directly to Tim Cook. Apple’s Retail organization has an incredibly strong network of leaders at the store and regional level who will continue the excellent work that has been done over the past decade to revolutionize retailing with unique, innovative services for customers.

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