In a stunning and unexpected press release at the end of the business day, Apple has announced that Senior Vice President of iOS Software Scott Forstall and retail chief John Browett are leaving Apple, apparently as the result of issues that have been widely publicized over the past year.
A long-time Apple employee whose work with former CEO Steve Jobs dated back to their time at NeXT, Forstall was previously referred to as Apple’s “CEO in waiting,” in reference to his close relationship with Jobs, somewhat similar temperament, and focus on minute details of human interface design. Loosely attributed reports in business publications claimed that Forstall was difficult to work with, and suggested that a number of key Apple employees had departed the company following disputes with him. Additional reports noted that a battle was brewing inside Apple regarding the company’s modern, clean-lined hardware, and skeuomorphic software interfaces that were thought by some to be visually distracting or busy. Complaints regarding the reliability of Siri and Maps, two marquee features introduced by Forstall for iOS 5 and iOS 6, respectively, have also been widespread.
Browett was hired by Apple to lead the retail division following the departure of Ron Johnson, who left to become CEO of J.C. Penney’s. A veteran of British retail, Browett’s brief term was marked by complaints from retail workers regarding poor morale and short-sighted cost-cutting efforts that compromised the Apple Store experience.
According to Apple, Jonathan Ive will take on leadership and direction for human interface design across the company, adding former Forstall software “look and feel” responsibilities to his role as Apple’s industrial design chief. Eddy Cue will become responsible for Siri and Maps, apparently taking over those online services from Scott Forstall. Craig Federighi will become responsible for iOS and OS X, and Bob Mansfield will lead a new Technologies group, leading all of Apple’s wireless and semiconductor teams. Apple is now searching for a “new head of Retail,” and in the interim, the Retail team will report to CEO Tim Cook. The full Apple press release is reposted after the break.
Apple Announces Changes to Increase Collaboration Across Hardware, Software & Services
CUPERTINO, California—October 29, 2012—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.
Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.