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.
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.