With trading halted on the New York Stock Exchange during the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy, there couldn’t have been a better time for any public company to announce the departure of major executives — and that’s just what Apple did Monday.
Apple announced that Scott Forstall, the head of iOS software, and Apple Store chief John Browett would both be leaving the company. Forstall will stay on until the new year; Browett appears to be out forthwith.
Forstall (pictured above), once tipped as a future CEO of the company, has been beset by a couple of high-profile software stumbles. Rightly or wrongly, he has been pegged with the blame for Siri and Apple Maps, two features where the consumer experience didn’t quite perform as advertised.
Browett came to Apple from UK electronics retailer Dixons, replacing the widely-loved Ron Johnson at the head of the Apple Store. An early plan of his to reduce staff numbers met with widespread criticism, and was subsequently walked back.
“Scott Forstall will be leaving Apple next year and will serve as an advisor to CEO Tim Cook in the interim,” Apple’s PR team wrote in a press release. As for Browett, “a search for a new head of Retail is underway and in the interim, the Retail team will report directly to Tim Cook.”
Meanwhile, the departures were good news for a number of Apple executives — including famed design chief Jonathan Ive — who get expanded roles in the reshuffle.
“Jony Ive, Bob Mansfield, Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi will add more responsibilities to their roles,” the release said. “[Internet software VP] Eddy Cue will take on the additional responsibility of Siri and Maps … [software engineering VP] Craig Federighi will lead both iOS and OS X.”
So Cue has the task of fixing the features Forstall was troubled by. And if Apple wanted to merge iOS and OS X down the road — much as Windows 8 has merged Microsoft’s tablet, phone and PC experiences this past week — this would be an ideal time, and the ideal appointment to start.
What do these changes portend for the tech giant? Give us your take in the comments.