A funny thing happened early Monday morning. It appeared that Bob Mansfield, Apple's Senior VP of Technologies, had abruptly been removed from Apple's executive listings page.
As one might expect, the discourse surrounding the discovery quickly turned to wild speculation that things were amiss over at Apple. The removal of Mansfield from the executive team was, to some, reminiscent of the abrupt removal of Scott Forstall from Apple altogether. What also made the news item even more curious is that Mansfield had already previously retired from Apple, only to change his mind shortly thereafter at the behest of Tim Cook, and of course convinced by a nice, large salary to boot. Mansfield's return, so to speak, to Apple ocurred in October of 2012 when Tim Cook announced that Mansfield would be remaining at Apple for two years and overseeing Apple's new Technologies group.
So what gives?
What's the reason behind Mansfield's sudden and apparent demotion?
Well, apparently it's a classic case of much ado about nothing.
Reuters was able to secure an official statement from Apple which reads,
Bob is no longer going to be on Apple's executive team, but will remain at Apple working on special projects reporting to Tim.
Note that this is much different than Scott Forstall being let go of his duties to serve as an "advisor" to Tim Cook.
Furthermore, typically in the know Apple blogger John Gruber of Daring Fireball did some poking around and was also left with the impression that Mansfield is simply off the executive team and that there isn't too much more to read into the story.
There’s nothing punitive with Mansfield’s role change, nor health problems or anything like that. Just a more focused role on certain new products. His un-retirement as a senior vice president last year was always intended to be transitional, not permanent.
Outside the company, we were surprised that Mansfield’s return as an SVP turned out to be temporary. Inside Apple, they seem surprised that we’d read juicy backstage intrigue into his simply being removed from their executive list.
Indeed, Gruber adds that Mansfield is immensley popular within Apple and effectively has the ability to "write his own ticket". So, perhaps Mansfield simply wasn't interested in being on Apple's executive team. That said, Mansfield remains at Apple working on special projects, with some rumors claiming that he's hard at work on Apple's long-rumored iWatch.