Apple Has a New COO (and Phil Schiller Will Lead the App Store)

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple Has a New COO (and Phil Schiller Will Lead the App Store).

Apple promoted long-time executive Jeff Williams to the role of chief operating officer, reinstating the title previously held by Chief Executive Tim Cook, as part of a series of changes to the company’s leadership team. Williams, who joined Apple in 1998, previously served as senior vice president of operations and oversaw development of the Apple Watch, the company’s first new product since the iPad.

Williams has effectively been Apple’s COO for some time, but CEO Tim Cook has left the title unclaimed since he vacated it to take the reins from an ailing Steve Jobs in 2011. In charge of the iPhone maker’s supply chain, and service and support operations, he also looked after the company’s social responsibility initiatives.

In addition, Apple says it’s expanding VP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller’s duties to now include running the App Store across all Apple platforms. While it was unclear if the appointment meant Apple was grooming Williams to be Cook’s successor, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a source, that the move did not necessarily signal that. He is often referred to as “Tim Cook’s Tim Cook,” a nod to the important operations role that the Apple chief played for former CEO Steve Jobs before his death. In any case, Cook does not appear to be eyeing the exits, said former Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassée, who saw the leadership changes as a way to keep executives on their toes. Myhren joins from Grey Group, where he has served as chief creative officer and president of Grey New York, and succeeds Hiroki Asai, who earlier announced plans to retire after 18 years at Apple.

There are a number of executives who could be considered for that position when the time came, they said. “We are fortunate to have incredible depth and breadth of talent across Apple’s executive team. Cue leads the charge for Apple as it tries to strike partnerships in Hollywood and elsewhere, which will be critical as the company tries to expand television offerings, Bajarin said. Apple made three other personnel announcements Thursday, adjusting an executive team that has remained fairly stable since 2012, when Scott Forstall and John Browett, who oversaw mobile software and retail respectively, were ousted.

Apple says that, in his new position, Schiller will focus on expanding Apple’s ecosystem across devices, including iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV. The release in 2014 of bigger-screen iPhones sparked massive sales growth, but analysts forecast that iPhone sales may fall in the fiscal year ending in September, which would be the first decline since the product was introduced in 2007. Apple’s App Store platform grew significantly this past year, with the launch of an App Store for its new wearable, Apple Watch as well as the introduction of an App Store for its new Apple TV hardware.

Both, however, have not yet seen the same impact in terms of breakout hits or developer traction as the original App Store did, though it’s still early days. A report this week from Raymond James, for instance, citing weaker guidance from Apple’s supply chain suppliers, said that it’s possible there will be fewer iPhone upgrades in “the coming 3 and 12 months than a year ago.” That means it may be time for Apple to shake things up, and this is certainly an interesting start at doing just that. Williams is known as a serious and understated executive who, according to a New Yorker article earlier this year drove a Toyota Camry until recently, even though he was awarded $66 million in restricted stock in fiscal 2012 and another $20 million in fiscal 2014.

Williams is responsible for ensuring that Apple can deliver mass quantities of products during peak periods of demand, while keeping inventory and costs to a minimum. This was a role filled by Apple’s services head Eddy Cue, whose responsibilities have expanded in recent years with Apple’s move into streaming music, mobile payments and, possibly, a streaming video service. Srouji also oversees Apple’s development of battery technology, which is increasingly important in devices such as the watch and crucial to its quiet work toward an electric vehicle. Myhren is one of the most high-profile creative talents in the advertising industry, credited for helping turn around WPP WPPGY -1.62 % PLC-owned Grey during his eight years at the agency. He created well-known campaigns such as eTrade’s talking baby and Oprah Winfrey’s car giveaway in 2004, in which the talk show host gave 300 Pontiac cars to every member of her audience.

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