Apple on Monday announced an executive shakeup of epic proportions. Scott Forstall, who increasingly became a visible member of Apple's executive team where he served as the company's senior VP of iOS software, will no longer be with the company come 2013. Forstall is a seasoned Apple veteran who first joined the company in 1997 when he came over with Steve Jobs as part of Apple's NeXT acquisition. While at Apple, Forstall rose through the ranks and played an integral role in the development of OS X Leopard and, of course, the development and direction of the iOS mobile operating system.
And now he's set to leave at the end of the year, after which he'll assume an advisory role and report to Tim Cook.
Translation? He was fired.
Make no mistake about it, this is big news. Again, remember that the iPhone is by far Apple's most profitable product and that Forstall was a key figure involved in the creation of iOS. That said, to call his departure noteworthy would be a gross understatement.
Apple explained in a press release:
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.
And with Forstall out, Apple's other executives will be taking on broader roles within the company.
Apple design gury Jony Ive will now "provide leadership and direction for Human Interface (HI) across the company."
Meanwhile, OS X head Craig Federighi will now head up Apple's iOS group with Forstall on the way out. And Eddy Cue, who seems to be ever so silently rising up through the executive ranks, will begin overseeing Siri and Maps, a move which Apple notes will put all of their online services under one umbrella. Notably, Siri and Maps were two iOS software features that didn't quite perform up to par with Apple's typically high standards. And, surprise surprise, both were released under the watchful eye of Forstall. Indeed, the idea to purchase Siri in the first place was Forstall's.
And lastly, on and off again retiree Bob Mansfield is now going to stick around at Apple for an additional two years, where he will lead a new group dubbed Technologies.
"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," Apple's press release states. "This organization will also include the semiconductor teams, who have ambitious plans for the future."
And if that weren't enough, retail chief John Browett will also be shown the door. Browett never quite gained his footing at Apple and didn't even last a full year at the helm of Apple Retail. Clearly, departed retail chief Ron Johnson left some pretty big shoes to fill.
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.
Some are calling this the biggest shakeup at Apple since Steve Jobs took the reigns from Gil Amelio.
It's hard to disagree.