iPod chief stepping down, to be succeeded by ‘Father of iPod’

Apple today announced that Jon Rubinstein, the company’s senior vice president of its iPod Division, will retire on March 31, 2006 and will be succeeded by Tony Fadell, Apple’s vice president of iPod engineering. Apple said in a statement that Fadell, known to insiders as the “Father of the iPod,” will report directly to Apple CEO Steve Jobs and take over all aspects of iPod development.

“I’ve worked with Jon for over 15 years, and we’re going to miss him. Jon has done an excellent job as a member of Apple’s senior management team, as well as building our world-class iPod engineering team and running our hardware engineering team prior to that,” said Jobs. “Tony has been doing a superb job running a large part of the iPod engineering team, and we’re expecting a very smooth transition.”

Fadell, an engineer who previously worked at General Magic, Philips Electronics and RealNetworks, is credited for the birth of the iPod. Fadell reportedly approached Apple with the idea of a portable digital music player coupled with a paid download service in 2001. Apple provided Fadell with a 30-person team and a tight deadline to create the first iPod.

Apple also announced today that it has named Tim Cook its chief operating officer. Cook, who has been Apple’s executive vice president of Worldwide Sales and Operations since 2002, will continue to report to Jobs.

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