Apple CEO Tim Cook Remakes Company for Post-Jobs Era, Two Top Executives Exit

Apple’s mobile software head Scott Forstall and retail chief John Browett are departing in the company’s most sweeping executive shake-up in a decade.

Apple CEO Tim Cook embarks on a sweeping management overhaul at the world’s most valuable company following embarrassing problems with its new mapping program and unpopular store-related decisions. Photo: jaredkuper/Flickr

The Cupertino based tech giant is shaking up its executive ranks, as it announced Monday that the head of its store operations is leaving after just six months on the post and the long-serving head of its iPhone software development operations is exiting next year.

Scott Forstall is to leave next year and he will take the post of an adviser to Cook until then, the iPhone maker said yesterday in a statement.

Executives Jony Ive, Eddy Cue, Bob Mansfield and Craig Federighi are set to take on added management responsibilities, Apple added. Forstall was pushed out, said a source familiar with the matter who asked to remain anonymous.

Mr Forstall oversaw mapping software and the Siri voice-recognition app, which faced plenty of criticism. The mobile software head also frequently clashed with other managers, people with knowledge of the matter have said.

A protege of Jobs has overseen the software running the iPhone and iPad, products that account for more than two-thirds of Apple’s revenue. He was also a polarizing figure within Apple’s management rank, Bloomberg claims.

“Forstall was effectively a component of friction in Apple’s otherwise very collaborative senior management structure,” said Charlie Wolf, an analyst at Needham & Co.

Cook, who succeeded his predecessor Steve Jobs last year, is revamping leadership as Apple’s stock price sags and competition accelerates from rivals such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon.com.

“It’s a very big move and one that was necessary to tighten up the management decision-making process,” said Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, a technology consulting firm. “Apple needs to work much faster as the competition heats up.”

As for John Browett, recently appointed head of the company’s retail operations, he failed to fit in at Apple and made some fatal mistakes including the faulty implementation of a new staffing formula that cut some employee hours too severely, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The Californian company has more than 360 stores all over the world, and they’re unique in several ways.

According to the estimates, Apple sells more per square foot than any other chain in the U.S., yet they account for just 12 percent of Apple’s overall sales.

Apple stores are considered to be ambassadors of the brand, and they provide customers with an easy way to access in-person technical support.

When Browett was appointed, analysts wondered whether an executive from a traditional retail operation would bring anything to one of the most successful companies in U.S.

Browett’s offer to cut staffing was explained by a desire to improve profits, but Apple divisions don’t have their own profit-and-loss accounts; they’re supposed to support the company as a whole.

The news about the management overhaul comes a little more than a year into Cook’s tenure as CEO, were described by Apple as a way to increase “collaboration” across its hardware, software and services business.

“These changes show that Tim Cook is stamping his authority on the business,” Ben Wood, analyst with CCS Insight, said. “Perhaps disappointed with the Maps issues, Forstall became the scapegoat.”

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