Apple Sheds Two Top Execs In Shake-Up
Apple has overhauled its management team and announced that two top executives are to leave the company.
John Browett, the head of retail, is out after just six months in the job and Scott Forstall, the long-serving head of its iPhone software development operations, will go in the new year.
The US firm did not say why either man was leaving but both have presided over blunders in recent months.
Mr Browett, the former head of Dixons, slashed staffing hours in Apple shops in a move that was later reversed by the company and acknowledged as a mistake.
And Mr Forstall's division launched a software update in September that replaced Google Maps with Apple's first mapping application.
The software was immediately attacked for being full of inaccuracies and much harder to use, prompting boss Tim Cook to apologise.
The surprise announcement about the departures was made on Monday, at the height of superstorm Sandy which is battering parts of the east coast of North America.
In a press release, Apple said the changes would "encourage even more collaboration between the company's world-class hardware, software and services teams".
The statement did not thank either Mr Forstall or Mr Browett.
Mr Forstall, a protege of the late Steve Jobs, joined the firm in 1997 when the company bought Jobs' NeXT start-up. Apple credits him as being one of the original architects of Mac OS X.
His responsibilities are being divided between other Apple veterans and he will work as an advisor to Mr Cook until he leaves.
A replacement is being recruited to replace Mr Browett, who had taken over store operations when Ron Johnson - who helped create the concept shops - left.
Apple has more than 360 shops but they only make up 12% of overall sales. They are seen as ambassadors of the brand and therefore have a strong emphasis on customer service.
At the time of Mr Browett's appointment, commentators wondered what an executive from a traditional retail operation would bring to the company.
His move to cut staffing appears to have been motivated by a desire to improve profits but Apple divisions do not have their own profit-and-loss accounts and are supposed to support the company as a whole.
Carolina Milanesi, smartphones analyst for Gartner, told the Guardian: "I did question if Browett coming from Dixon was the right pick.
"Apple needs to learn how to deal with more customers in the stores but the need to retain the high level of care is something that a chain like Dixons does not do very well."