Apple’s PR boss is leaving the company

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"I will always bleed six colors," says outgoing Apple PR boss Steve Dowling.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s VP of communications is stepping away from the company after leading Apple’s public relations efforts for the last five years.

Steve Dowling, who worked at Apple for 16 years, sent out a memo to staff saying that now is the time for him to step away from the company. The news comes right after Apple’s biggest PR week of the year, the fall iPhone keynote, but Dowling’s note to employees is full of optimism for the iPhone-maker.

Tim Cook hand picked Dowling to be Apple’s PR boss after Katie Cotton stepped down from the role in 2014. Cotton was one of Steve Jobs’ top lieutenants and shaped Apple’s strict and secretive PR policies. Apple’s PR team put on a friendlier face during Dowling’s tenure which also included a number of Pr fiascos like the encryption battle with the FBI.

Regarding Dowling’s departure, Apple said “he leaves behind a tremendous legacy that will serve the company well into the future. We’re grateful to him for all that he’s given to Apple and wish him the best.“

Apple hasn’t named a successor to Dowling yet. Marketing boss Phil Schiller will fill his role for the meantime. Vox reports that the company is looking at candidates both inside and outside the company.

Dowling is set to stay on till the end of October to help manage the transition. He says he plans to take some time away from working before launching into something new.

Read his full memo to staff below:

After 16 years at Apple, countless keynotes, product launches and the occasional PR crisis, I’ve decided that the time is right for me to step away from our remarkable company. This is something that has been on my mind for a while, and it came into sharp focus during the latest — and for me, last — launch cycle. Your plans are set and the team is executing brilliantly as ever. So, it’s time.

Phil will be managing the team on an interim basis starting today, and I’ll be available through the end of October to help with the transition. After that, I plan to take a good, long stretch of time off before trying something new. At home I have a supportive, patient spouse in Petra and two beautiful children blossoming into their teen years. I‘m looking forward to creating more memories with the three of them while I have the chance.

My loyalty to Apple and its people knows no bounds. Working with Tim and this team, accomplishing all we have done together, has been the highlight of my career. I want to thank you for your hard work, your patience and your friendship. And I wish you every success.

I will always bleed six colors.

Dowling