Why Apple asked two senior executives to leave

Oct 30, 2012

Apple Maps fiasco was last strike for Forstall, while ex-Dixons chief Browett 'didn't fit in'

TWO senior executives at Apple whose departure from the company was announced yesterday were in fact asked to leave, says the Wall Street Journal. Scott Forstall, a 15-year Apple veteran and close friend of the late Steve Jobs, and John Browett, Apple's recently appointed retail chief, left under apparently unrelated circumstances, but "people familiar with the matter" say the pair were pushed out.

Forstall, formerly head of Apple's mobile software unit, was reportedly asked to go after refusing to publicly apologise for the faulty Apple Maps app, forcing chief executive Tim Cook to put his own name to the apology letter instead.

But it seems his exit was a long time coming: Forstall has a reputation for being uncooperative, reports the WSJ. According to one insider, he "never fit into the culture of Apple."

Without Steve Jobs as a go-between, tension between Forstall and others in the Apple leadership swelled. Forstall apparently told colleagues that, since Jobs's death, the company had lacked a "decider". He complained that the company was not working on enough "big ideas" for mobile software. The Apple Maps fiasco seems to have pushed the tension to crisis point.

As for Browett, rumours of his impending exit intensified in the build-up to Monday's announcement after a recent cancellation of an Arizona event for Apple's retail leadership.

Browett, who left his role as chief executive of Dixons earlier this year to join Apple, reportedly struggled with the transition. A few costly mistakes, such as the implementation of an inadequate staffing formula which cut staffers' hours too heavily, have allegedly given Apple's top brass enough reason to push him out.

This is a major shake-up for Apple, whose executive echelons have been fairly steady since Cook's takeover last year. The hunt for Browett's replacement is underway, with Cook handling the extra responsibility in the meantime. Other executives will be expanding their portfolios to cover Forstall's absence.

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