Published in News

Apple losing top executives

by on15 May 2024

Leaving as the company grinds to a halt

The fruity cargo cult Apple is starting to lose its top executives -- most with  the title of vice president, which is just below the senior vice president level that reports to Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook.

The departures included vice presidents overseeing industrial design, the online store, information systems, Job's Mob's cloud efforts, aspects of hardware and software engineering, privacy matters, sales in emerging markets, subscription services, and procurement.

Job's Mob may have lost one or two VPs during a 12-month window, like when the head of its self-driving car vapourware saw the writing on the wall and left for Ford in 2021.

While Jobs’ Mob has brought in a few more executives, it mostly redistributed responsibilities or promoted people from inside the flying saucer.

Most of the recent departures were of Apple veterans who have been at the company for 15-plus years. However, in the case of its design and services vice presidents, among others, Apple lost executives in the prime of their careers who could have, one day, potentially reached the senior vice president level.

The dark satanic rumour mill has also told Bloomberg that the flurry of exits may just be the beginning. Quite a few vice presidents at Apple have been there for decades and could retire in the next few years.

Apple’s highest layer is in a similar position: 10 of its top 12 executives are about the same age. Half of them joined before 2000, and the age gap between CEO Cook and his most likely successor, operating chief Williams, is only about two years.

Longtime Job's Mob's mainstays who helped reinvent the company are also nearing the end of their careers. Former marketing chief Phil Schiller is stepping into a smaller Apple Fellow role focused on the App Store and media events. Dan Riccio is shedding all hardware engineering responsibilities except the mixed-reality headset team.

People within Apple believe that some executives at the director and senior director levels (the two management tiers directly below vice president) also are considering stepping down in the not-too-distant future.

The word on the street is that the exits are because Job's Mob has become like Microsoft after the shine wore off. It has put too many responsibilities placed on managers and become more bureaucratic over the years, especially regarding product development.

The internal politics and cross-department wrangling make the Red Wedding in Game of Thrones look like a picnic.

Meanwhile, resources have been shifted to longer-term initiatives, some of which will likely be vapourware or be beaten to market by more agile companies.

Bloomberg said that  Job's Mob's structure is a stress source. The company is organised functionally, which means that teams contribute to all its big products. For instance, a vice president of hardware engineering would be helping oversee parts of the iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, Mac and AirPods. And a software engineering leader would be running teams that contribute to iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS, which operate on dozens of hardware products.

This was reasonable in Apple’s early days but has led to increased product development delays, resources being spread too thin, and additional engineering complexity. There are benefits too, of course. It lets Apple put its best minds on every item in the portfolio.

 Job's Mob's tumbling share price also hurt the bank balances of vice presidents who have half their cash in shares.

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