Apple loses three members of PR team to Ford and Tesla

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Tesla
Tesla just poached one of Apple's top PR persons.
Photo: Tesla

Just as Cupertino is scaling back its automotive ambitions, key members of the Apple PR team have left the company for car manufacturers.

Three of Apple’s communications staff have left the iPhone-maker, according to The Verge, which reports that Ford and Tesla lured them away.

The most prominent person to leave is Sarah O’Brien. During her time at Apple, O’Brien led communications for music, iPhone and Apple Watch. Now she is joining Tesla as senior director of communications.

Apple losing to Tesla and Ford

Apple has allegedly shifted gears on its car project after numerous setbacks. The company is now developing a self-driving software platform, according to the latest rumors and news reports.

Apple employees who have left for car companies likely weren’t involved with Project Titan in any capacity. But it’s interesting that Apple lost top talent to Ford and Tesla after poaching those company’s employees for the past two years.

Former Mac communications director Colin Smith has been hired by Ford. He’ll stay in Silicon Valley to work at the company’s research and innovation center doing communications and business development. Smith worked at Apple for seven years, heading PR for software and professional apps on the Mac as well as hardware.

Apple also lost staffer Michaela Johndrow to Ford. She’s set to manage communications for electric vehicles from the company’s headquarters in Michigan.