Former Apple exec Scott Forstall advises one of tech’s hottest startups

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Where in the world is Scott Forstall?
Where in the world is Scott Forstall?

The greatest Apple mystery of the last few years hasn’t been the next iPhone or Apple Watch, but a man named Scott Forstall.

Since getting kicked out of Apple in late 2012, the former head of iOS and friend of Steve Jobs has had absolutely no profile in the tech scene whatsoever. He rarely even gets spotted in public. It’s like he’s fallen off the face of the earth.

Until now.

According to leaked emails from the Sony hack, Forstall became an advisor to Snapchat in January of 2014. He was awarded 0.11% of the company’s stock, which could already be worth potentially $16.5 million based on the startup’s recent $15 billion valuation.

“We have a number of advisors, but we don’t comment on the specifics of their relationship with the company,” Snapchat told TechCrunch in a statement. The leaked emails indicate that Forstall owns more stock than anyone else at Snapchat (aside from the top brass, of course), including its top engineers.

Forstall, who was instrumental in the development of the original iPhone and iOS all the way up to his 2012 departure, didn’t mesh well with other Apple executives. He was also asked to publicly take the blame for the giant blunder that was the first version of Apple Maps.

Internally, Forstall was seen as Steve Jobs’ right hand man, and when Jobs died, Tim Cook instituted a major restructure of the executive team to “increase collaboration.” Part of that restructuring meant that Forstall was out, and Craig Federighi took on leading the iOS and OS X teams at Apple.

Forstall’s trade secrets were clearly worth whatever ridiculous amount of money Apple paid him to keep quiet all these years. But if his new role in Snapchat is any indication, we may start to see more of the former exec soon.