With the passing of Apple CEO and founder Steve Jobs last year, there was much speculation as to whether his successor, Tim Cook, could provide the same level of inspiration and drive that led Apple to become arguably the worlds most innovative and successful technology company. The wealth of talent at Apple (the senior vice president of industrial design, Jonathan Ive, was recently knighted) suggested even without its charismatic leader, the company had the right people to guide Apple into a successful future.
This weeks announcement that Apples senior vice president of hardware engineering Bob Mansfield will retire after a transition of several months follows the November 2011 departure of Apple store builder Ron Johnsonand has raised some eyebrows in the tech media world, leading some to question the structure of Apples top-tier design team.
Dan Riccio, current vice president of iPad hardware engineering, will take over for Mansfield. Riccio joined Apple in 1998 as vice president of product design.
In a press statement on the announcement, Apple called Riccio instrumental in all of Apples iPads since the first generation of the products and said he had been a key contributor to the majority of Apples hardware over his career. The company also noted Apples entire hardware engineering team would continue to report to Mansfield until his departure, and mentioned Riccio earned a bachelors degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1986.
Bob has been an instrumental part of our executive team, leading the hardware engineering organization and overseeing the team that has delivered dozens of breakthrough products over the years, Cook said in a prepared statement. We are very sad to have him leave and hope he enjoys every day of his retirement. Dan has been one of Bobs key lieutenants for a very long time and is very well respected within Apple and by the industry. Our hardware engineering team is the best engineering team on earth and will not miss a beat during the transition.
Cook has received high marks for his leadership so far. Taking the top spot in a survey of highest-rated CEOs compiled by jobs and career site Glassdoor, Cook received a 97 percent approval rating. By comparison, when Steve Jobs stepped down from the post in August 2011, his cumulative approval rating was 97 percent, though his rating between March 2010 and March 2011 was 95 percent.
However, recent comments from IT research firm Forrester's CEO George Colony set the Internet ablaze after he suggested that without Jobs' "singular charismatic leadership," risk-taking prowess and "unparalleled ability to envision and design products," the company was likely to coast for a period of 24 to 48 months, and then fall into decline.