Apple Announces Major Executive Shakeup: iOS Guru Scott Forstall And New Retail Chief John Browett Leaving The Company

Apple Announces Major Executive Shakeup: iOS Guru Scott Forstall And New Retail Chief John Browett Leaving The Company

Say goodbye to Apple’s heads of iOS and retail.

Apple has announced its biggest executive shakeup since Steve Jobs stepped down as CEO.

The biggest surprise is the departure of Scott Forstall, a longtime Apple executive and the senior vice president of iOS Software. Forstall was the major architect of Apple’s mobile software and had been tipped as a possible future CEO. He will be leaving the company next year. He is serving as an advisor to CEO Tim Cook until his departure in 2013.

The other big surprise is the departure of Apple’s newest executive, John Browett, head of Apple ‘s retail division. Browett is leaving after running Apple’s stores for less than a year.

As part of the reshuffling, Apple’s head of design, Sir Jonathan, gets a major promotion. As well as leading Industrial Design, Ive will also run the company’s Human Interface department. Ive will be in charge of the all-important product interfaces in both hardware and software, a role previously fulfilled by the late Steve Jobs.

John Browett was heavily criticized for some clumsy decisions in retail and his departure is to be expected, although it still feels a little soon. Apple brought on the former Dixons CEO back in January, and he has since undergone much scrutiny for creating unsatisfying working conditions and suffocating retail morale among employees. Browett was hired to replace Ron Johnson, the much-lauded former Apple executive who created Apple’s retail division with Steve Jobs years ago. Apple is now looking for a successor to Browett. Tim Cook will be put in charge of retail until someone is found.

Scott Forstall leaving Apple comes as more of a shock considering that he has been with the company since the days of NeXT with Steve Jobs. After Jobs left and Tim Cook took charge, Forstall was seen by many as the next would-be CEO. According to sources, his “fiery” personality made him hard to get along with, but his talent as a leader was unquestioned. For the past several years, Forstall has been leading the development of Apple’s cash cow, the iOS platform. He lead the development of the new Maps app, a product that has caused public embarrassment for Apple in recent months. Forstall will serve as an advertiser to Cook for the remainder of the year. Craig Federighi, the face of OS X at Apple, will now also be in charge of iOS.

Bob Mansfield had planned to retire months ago, but Apple brought him back and gave him an ambiguous title. Now it all makes sense. This executive shakeup has been in the works for quite some time.

Here’s the official press release from Apple in full:

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.

Apple’s leadership page should be updated shortly to reflect the changes.

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  • Mark Drury

    Hiring John Browett was a disaster in every way, to take someone from a company like Dixons in the UK, which has a ‘pile it high, sell it cheap’ mentality was asking for trouble.

  • ac1dra1n

    If Jony is taking over the UI Team(Thats how I read the article) then maybe a different UI will be coming. Maybe the joining of the Wireless teams will lead to even more efficient chips. This may actually be a good thing as opposed to a bad thing. I guess we will find out when iOS 7 and newer iDevices debut.

  • CharilaosMulder

    I thought I had a nice day…

  • londonstuff

    Burying bad news on hurricane day? Forstall that is.

    Every time I’ve been in a Dixons or a Currys (in the UK that is) it’s been unbelievably abysmal: Browett was never a good fit.

  • CommonManDZ

    I think this is a much-needed shake-up at the top of Apple.

    Scott Forstall was very ‘Jobsian’ – for obvious reasons – in his approach, which I imagine was causing some internal strife as Tim Cook works to “re-make” Apple in his kindler, gentler image. Also, as Apple’s business evolves, divisions and departments that at one time worked separately, must now work together (think: iOS and OSX future and the possible merging of OS’s) even closer than ever. This makes total sense…and now we also know why Apple threw piles of money at Bob Mansfield to un-retire. BONUS!

    John Browett’s hire as the VP of Retail was a disaster in every sense of the word. We’ll just call his appointment almost immediate dismissal a mulligan for Tim Cook. Cook is a new CEO, people make mistakes. It’s OK to screw-up as long as Apple follows this cleansing up with a Retail VP who shares Apple’s vision for their sales floors…whatever that is.

    Jony Ive has consolidated his authority, and is now the man in charge of the entirety of “visual” Apple, as in the look of both hardware and software. I would expect iOS 7 (and iOS 8 even more so) to re-invent the standard Apple user interface as iOS and OS X continue their march to fusion.

    Overall, VERY happy with what went down today. Hey, someone had to take the fall for Maps, haha!

  • Yellowcows

    Great news!…Maps was presented as an awesome thing and it’s just a pile of crap….Reinstating Google with turn-by-turn should be,at the very least, an option.. Google with their street cars/view/ transit is something available NOW .Why trying to duplicate something already fantastic? Ping/MobileMe/Maps demonstrate that you cant be awesome everywhere… With decision driven by anger against Google only one outcome possible :inferior product and the Juggernaut domination of Android..

  • Robert X

    I see nothing be huge positives out of this. Ives has HI across software (no skeuomorphic design!) and hardware.

  • Matthew Gonzales Landry

    I honestly don’t see much good out of this.

    Ive is great at what he does, but let’s not forget that he’s brought use the new Apple Remote, various unrepairable iOS and Macs and the “improved” iPhone antenna design. As far as I can see, Forstall never really had huge missteps.

    Okay, so Siri launched in Beta. Big deal. It’s not perfect, but I don’t know what voice recognition software is perfect. Siri has been majorly improved since it was first announced, and I only see it getting better.

    Maps wasn’t perfect either, but is that Scott’s fault? The application is beautiful. If he was in charge of designing the application, he did a great job. The real issue stems from Apple choosing the wrong company to source their map data from.

    The only good thing out of here was Craig taking over for iOS and OS X. Craig has always been my favorite Apple executive. Lion and Mountain Lion were both fantastic. In fact, I think Mountain Lion is more innovative than Windows 8/RT.

    At the end of the day, though, I really thought that Scott has done a great job with iOS

  • nthnm

    “Forstall will serve as an advertiser to Cook for the remainder of the year.”

    Really? An advertiser?

  • al friede

    i’ve always hated forstall, so if this is legit i’m completely stoked b/c he’s always come off at the ultimate douche bag!

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath has been a staff writer at Cult of Mac for three years. He is also a co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by places like the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too. All DMs excepted.

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