Apple’s departed: Here’s everyone who’s left Apple recently

Jony Ive (middle)

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Jony Ive (middle)
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Getty

Apple lost its longtime design guru on Thursday with the news that Jony Ive is leaving the company to start his own firm.

Ive is responsible for the look and feel of Apple’s most iconic products, from the iPod to the iPhone, and he was the executive who embodied the vision of founder Steve Jobs more than anyone else at the company.

Ive’s exit follows the departure of several other high-level players at Apple, including the retail boss earlier this year. It’s not exactly an exodus, given the depth of Apple’s management team.

But the departures reflect a change in the company’s top ranks and come at a time when Apple is shifting its focus from being a hardware maker to an internet “services” company.

Take a look at all the recent departures at Apple:


Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s retail boss

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REUTERS/Noah Berger

Angela Ahrends left Apple in February after a five year run as the head of the company’s all-important retail store business.

The former CEO of fashion company Burberry, Ahrends was the face of Apple’s retail experience and Apple’s highest paid executive. With 70,000 retail store staffers under her command, Ahrendts oversaw a massive operation with stores throughout the world, and she led a store redesign that sought to transform the stores into “town squares.”

Ahrendts joined Apple at a time when the company sought to infuse a sense of luxury into new products like the Apple Watch, and some speculated that her recent departure is a sign of changing strategy at Apple.


Tom Gruber, one of the original Siri cofounders

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Ted/Screenshot

Tom Gruber was one of the three founders who created Siri as a San Jose, Calif startup that was developed with the help of the Stanford University-affiliated SRI Research lab.

Apple acquired Siri for a reported $200 million in 2010, and the namesake virtual assistant made its debut on the iPhone 4, the following year. Gruber stayed at Apple years longer than his cofounder and was the head of the Siri Advanced Development team at Apple. But while Apple was early to market with a virtual assistant, it soon was competing, and by some estimates, lagging competitors like Google and Amazon.

According to a report in The Information, Gruber left to retire and pursue personal interests in ocean conservation and photography.


Gerard Williams III, led chip design

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Apple

Williams had a big hand in Apple’s products before he even worked at Apple, having previously worked at chip company ARM, whose processors powered the first iPhones. He joined Apple in 2010, and oversaw the firm’s move to making its own processors, as the senior director of platform architecture for the company’s CPUs.

While Williams’ departure in March 2019 was a big loss for Apple, the company has since hired Mike Filipo, another chip hot shot from ARM.


Vipul Ved Prakash, Apple’s head of search

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LinkedIn

Prakash oversaw the search engines that power Spotlight, Safari, and Siri, on iOS and on MacOS, and left Apple in July 2018 – around the same time that Siri cofounder Tom Gruber left the company.

Prakash joined Apple in 2013, when Apple acquired Topsy Labs, a social media and analytics search engine that he founded.


Jimmy Iovine, Apple’s music guru

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Jimmy Iovine was never a lifer at Apple, and it was not much of a surprise when he stepped back from his day to day role at the company in March 2018. An iconic figure in the music industry, who was the producer for artists from Stevie Nick to Eminem, Iovine joined when Apple acquired Beats in 2014 for $3 billion.

He then became the public face of Apple’s then-nascent music streaming service, bringing his experience and connections in the music industry.


Jony Ive, chief design officer

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Getty Images/Michael Kovac

Ive is practically synonymous with Apple. The British designer joined Apple in 1992, working on pioneering products like the Newton.

When Apple founder Steve Jobs returned in 1997, Ive became Jobs’ most trusted lieutenant and emerged as the creative force that drove the next two decades of dominance, with iconic products like the iPod, iPhone, and iPad.


Steve Dowling, Apple’s media gatekeeper

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LinkedIn

Dowling joined Apple in 2003, and rose to the top job in the company’s communications team in 2014.

As VP of Communications, Dowling was the controller of Apple’s carefully cultivated image and the gatekeeper for media access to the company’s executive ranks. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Dowling will step down from his role in October to “spend more time with his family.” He will be replaced, on an interim basis, by Apple marketing boss Phil Schiller.


Who’s going to be next?

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Business Insider

Apple has a deep bench of talent and a strong line-up of senior leaders, including Apple head of internet software and services Eddy Cue, software engineering boss Craig Federighi, and CFO Luca Maestri. But some of them have been around for a long time. With the departure of Ive, it’s natural to wonder if some other veterans will decide it’s a good time to follow his lead.