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Apple Marketing Head Steps Down From Role -- WSJ

08/05/2020 | 02:48am

By Sebastian Herrera

Phil Schiller, a close friend of Steve Jobs who helped remake Apple Inc. from a struggling computer maker into the world's largest company, is stepping aside as the tech company's head of marketing and will become an "Apple Fellow."

Mr. Schiller, who began working at Apple in 1987 before leaving and rejoining the company after Mr. Jobs returned in 1996, will continue to lead the App Store and Apple Events in his new role, and Greg Joswiak will become senior vice president of world-wide marketing, Apple said Tuesday.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said Mr. Schiller will continue to provide "thought partnership" in his new role. "Phil helped make Apple the company it is today and his contributions are broad, fast and run deep," he said in a statement.

Mr. Schiller, 60 years old, said it was time for some "planned changes" in his life and that he wanted to make time for family, friends and personal projects. "I'll keep working here as long as they will have me, " he said.

Mr. Joswiak has served in Apple leadership roles for more than 20 years, including as vice president of world-wide product marketing for the past four years.

The transition from Mr. Schiller to Mr. Joswiak, who is often referred to by the nickname Joz, should be smooth as the two have worked together closely for years, said Tim Bajarin, founder of Creative Strategies, who has covered Apple as an analyst for three decades.

"At Apple, marketing has really been central to strategy; it's how they position the company, and that's where Phil was superb," Mr. Bajarin said. "He drove the brand -- who Apple is, what Apple stood for and what Apple needed to be."

Mr. Schiller's role change comes as Apple battles uncertainty in the consumer phone market caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The iPhone maker has shown great resilience amid the global outbreak. It reported $11.25 billion in quarterly profit last week that came from sustained demand across its products, although it announced its annual fall update to its iPhone lineup would be delayed by a few weeks.

Apple has given the role of "fellow" to a number of employees who are seen as having made a substantial contribution to the company even as in some cases their day-to-day responsibilities were reduced. Notable fellows at Apple include co-founder Steve Wozniak.

Mr. Jobs recruited Mr. Schiller to come back to Apple when Mr. Jobs returned to the company after being ousted in 1985, according to the biography of Mr. Jobs by Walter Isaacson.

The former Boston College graduate played an integral role in product launches of the iPod, iPhone and iPad, as well as in Apple advertising, as he held a variety of executive roles at the company in recent decades.

In June, Mr. Schiller led Apple's efforts in its first virtual Worldwide Developers Conference, which was praised by developers and participants and seen as a bellwether for the potential of online conferences during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Schiller's move comes as other longtime executives have also left. The company lost several executives last year, most notably longtime design chief Jony Ive. Mr. Ive's departure announcement came two months after retail chief Angela Ahrendts also left Apple and was followed by the resignation of Walt Disney Co. Chairman Robert Iger from Apple's board.

Steve Dowling, Apple's former head of communications, also left last year. Mr. Schiller oversaw the communications team on an interim basis following Mr. Dowling's departure.

--Tripp Mickle contributed to this article.

Write to Sebastian Herrera at Sebastian.Herrera@wsj.com

 

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