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PR Honcho Steve Dowling Is Leaving Apple

Steve Dowling, in a memo to staff (”leaked” to Recode):

After 16 years at Apple, countless keynotes, product launches and the occasional PR crisis, I’ve decided that the time is right for me to step away from our remarkable company. This is something that has been on my mind for a while, and it came into sharp focus during the latest — and for me, last — launch cycle. Your plans are set and the team is executing brilliantly as ever. So, it’s time.

Phil will be managing the team on an interim basis starting today, and I’ll be available through the end of October to help with the transition. After that, I plan to take a good, long stretch of time off before trying something new. At home I have a supportive, patient spouse in Petra and two beautiful children blossoming into their teen years. I‘m looking forward to creating more memories with the three of them while I have the chance.

My loyalty to Apple and its people knows no bounds. Working with Tim and this team, accomplishing all we have done together, has been the highlight of my career. I want to thank you for your hard work, your patience and your friendship. And I wish you every success.

I will always bleed six colors.

Dowling

He’s going out on top. Dowling replaced the inimitable Katie Cotton five years ago, and it’s been a busy five years to say the least. I’ll just say it: I like Dowling. He’s been tremendously helpful to me — always available, always honest.

When Cotton left, there were two clear possible successors, Dowling and Natalie Kerris. Cotton was very much Steve Jobs’s PR chief. She fit Jobs’s style like a glove. I think Dowling was a similar fit for Tim Cook. But there’s no clear successor to Dowling this time. Kara Swisher reports that Apple will be considering both internal and external candidates, and while it makes sense to look at everyone, Apple has such a unique culture, and is on such a good roll, that I’d be a little surprised if they go with an external candidate.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019