Tech giant Apple is playing a little musical chairs in its C-suite. Jeff Williams was just named chief operating officer (COO) and Johny Srouji is coming on board the company’s executive team as senior vice president for hardware technologies.
And that’s not the full extent of the shifting ranks. Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing, is watching his role expand. He’ll now oversee the App Store across all Apple platforms. Meanwhile, Tor Myhren will make his start as vice president of marketing communications in the first calendar quarter of 2016.
The bottom line is Apple has a deep bench, according to CEO Tim Cook. “As we come to the end of the year, we’re recognizing the contributions already being made by two key executives,” said Cook. “Jeff is hands-down the best operations executive I’ve ever worked with, and Johny’s team delivers world-class silicon designs which enable new innovations in our products year after year.”
A Troubling Move?
Williams (pictured, above) is no stranger to Apple. He joined the firm in 1998 as head of worldwide procurement and was named vice president of operations in 2004. Williams has lead Apple’s supply chain, service and support, and social responsibility initiatives since 2010. He also played a strategic role in Apple’s move into the smartphone market when the iPhone launched and still oversees Apple Watch development.
We caught up with Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, to get this thoughts on the executive shake up. He told us Williams has apparently had COO-like responsibilities for some time and was doing a good job so they made the move permanent. This appears to put him next in line to Cook, Enderle said.
“The more interesting and troubling move is Phil Schiller. Phil is marketing and he will own the developers through the app stores,” Enderle said. “Typically, you put someone that has been a developer in charge of a unit like this because they understand the base, however a marketing person may understand better how to promote the apps.”
Schiller will focus on strategies to extend Apple’s app ecosystem, according to the company. That translates to leading almost every developer-related function at the firm -- on top of his other duties spanning global product marketing, international marketing, and business and education marketing. Then again, this move could work to Apple’s advantage.
“One of Apple’s competitive advantages is that app developers make more money on iOS then they do on Android,” Enderle said. “This could be to ensure that this advantage is sustained and would nicely justify this decision showing it to be very strategic to Apple’s future.”
During his eight years as vice president of hardware technologies, Srouji has built a strong team of tech engineers who have innovated around application processors, batteries, sensors silicon, storage controllers, chipsets and display silicon. In fact, he’s the mastermind behind the A4, Apple’s first system-on-a-chip design.
Myhren is coming to Apple from outside the company ranks. He served as chief creative officer and president of Grey Group, where he led the firm to win Adweek’s Global Agency of the Year in 2013 and 2015. In his new role as vice president of marketing communications at Apple, he will lead the firm’s advertising initiatives. He is replacing the retiring Hiroki Asai, who served Apple for 18 years.