Massive executive shakeup at Apple: Scott Forstall leaves

Apple today suddenly announced that they would be undergoing a massive executive shakeup, and that Scott Forstall (Senior VP of iOS) and John Browett (head of retail) will be leaving in 2013.

The changes are likely to be huge for the company and will mean that iOS/Mac OS X is likely to see massive shifts in where they're heading in terms of the user interface. Scott Forstall has been at Apple since 1997, and is widely regarded to be the reason for skeuomorphism throughout iOS and Apple. 

Jony Ive will be in charge of UX for both software and hardware and has been given the title of director of Human Interface across the company in addition to Senior VP of Industrial Design.

Bob Mansfield will lead a new group called "technologies" which is very curious since Apple says the role is managing "all of Apple’s wireless teams across the company in one organization, fostering innovation in this area at an even higher level. This organization will also include the semiconductor teams, who have ambitious plans for the future." What's most interesting about this move is Mansfield was planning to retire from Apple before being swiftly retained, and this cements his position at the company.

Eddy Cue will take on Siri and Maps, and Craig Federighi will lead both iOS and OS X going forward. Apple says this move will help unify software strategy across the two platforms; we think 2013 will turn out to be very interesting for Apple.

It's not clear from the release why Forstall is leaving, but it's likely due to the bad public reception of Apple Maps and the unimpressive performance of Siri in the market.

The Verge reports that the general sentiment at Apple's retail division is "tears of joy" at news of Browett leaving since he was not generally liked at the company. Apple is now on the hunt for a new retail chief.

This news is a huge shift for the company and marks the beginning of what could be a significantly different direction for the company going forward. 

Here's the press release from Apple:

Apple® today announced executive management changes that will encourage even more collaboration between the Company’s world-class hardware, software and services teams. As part of these changes, Jony Ive, Bob Mansfield, Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi will add more responsibilities to their roles. Apple also announced that Scott Forstall will be leaving Apple next year and will serve as an advisor to CEO Tim Cook in the interim.

“We are in one of the most prolific periods of innovation and new products in Apple’s history”

“We are in one of the most prolific periods of innovation and new products in Apple’s history,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The amazing products that we’ve introduced in September and October, iPhone 5, iOS 6, iPad mini, iPad, iMac, MacBook Pro, iPod touch, iPod nano and many of our applications, could only have been created at Apple and are the direct result of our relentless focus on tightly integrating world-class hardware, software and services.”

Jony Ive will provide leadership and direction for Human Interface (HI) across the company in addition to his role as the leader of Industrial Design. His incredible design aesthetic has been the driving force behind the look and feel of Apple’s products for more than a decade.

Eddy Cue will take on the additional responsibility of Siri® and Maps, placing all of our online services in one group. This organization has overseen major successes such as the iTunes Store®, the App Store‚Ą†, the iBookstore‚Ą† and iCloud®. This group has an excellent track record of building and strengthening Apple’s online services to meet and exceed the high expectations of our customers.

Craig Federighi will lead both iOS and OS X®. Apple has the most advanced mobile and desktop operating systems, and this move brings together the OS teams to make it even easier to deliver the best technology and user experience innovations to both platforms.

Bob Mansfield will lead a new group, Technologies, which combines all of Apple’s wireless teams across the company in one organization, fostering innovation in this area at an even higher level. This organization will also include the semiconductor teams, who have ambitious plans for the future.

Additionally, John Browett is leaving Apple. A search for a new head of Retail is underway and in the interim, the Retail team will report directly to Tim Cook. Apple’s Retail organization has an incredibly strong network of leaders at the store and regional level who will continue the excellent work that has been done over the past decade to revolutionize retailing with unique, innovative services for customers.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

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