There's been a major shift of management at Apple. Tony Fadell, Apple’s senior vice president of the iPod Division, the man credited with envisioning the iPod in the first place, is quitting his job after a wildly successful run of around 7 years. He will remain on as a personal adviser to CEO Steve Jobs.
Mr. Fadell's wife, Danielle Lambert, is a vice president of Human Resources at Apple and also announced her departure. She will be leaving at the end of the year. The pair is cited by Apple as leaving their positions to "devote more time to their young family."
The move comes at a critical crossroads for Apple's iPod. Nonetheless, the next generation devices such as the iPod touch and iPod nano regularly outsell their closest competitors by broad margins.
Mark Papermaster will replace Mr. Fadell and lead the iPod and iPhone teams, reporting directly to Mr. Jobs. Mr. Papermaster was recruited to Apple after 25 years with IBM, serving much of his time with the company as a Vice President. In a soap-operaesque twist, IBM is suing Apple for the acquisition, which it claims was illegal due to a breach of a non-compete agreement. Apple, however, did not hesitate to appoint Mr. Papermaster to one of its most critical posts.
Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO was pleased with the news, stating, "Mark is a seasoned leader and is going to be an excellent addition to our senior management team. Tony and Dani have each made important contributions to Apple over the past eight years. We’re sorry to see Dani go, and are looking forward to working with Tony in his new capacity."
While experience obviously trumps education in roles such as these, Apple was quick to point to Mr. Papermaster's academic credentials. He completed a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Texas, and Masters of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Vermont in 1988. He is also cited by Apple to be active with the University of Texas where he is a member of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Advisory Council.
Of course, while Apple may be losing the “father” of the iPod in some capacity, it still has the inventor of the iPhone at its helm -- that's right, Steven P. Jobs. According to the top of Apple's excruciatingly long 371-page patent opus covering the iPhone's user interface, Mr. Jobs was the first inventor to be cited (of 5 individuals).
Now perhaps if Mr. Papermaster and his team can invent a way to convince the iPhone's eccentric inventor to loosen up and allow some of the much requested, and long denied features customers have begged for on the iPhone, to go with some slick new iPods, the good times may be rolling once again.