Apple Loses Its Leaders in Hardware, Support

The company has confirmed the departures of Tim Bucher, the head of Macintosh product engineering, and Mark Wilhelm, in charge of the company's support unit.

Representatives at Apple Computer have confirmed to that two senior executives have left the Cupertino, Calif.-based computer manufacturer. However, no comments were available about the nature of the departures.

The latest move comes from Tim Bucher, who until mid-November ran Apples Macintosh hardware engineering.

According to Steve Dowling, senior manager for media relations at Apple Computer Inc., an engineering management team has been appointed by Tim Cook, Apples executive vice president of worldwide sales and operations, to execute Buchers responsibility while the company searches for a new division leader.

This team consists of Jonathan Ive, Apples vice president of industrial design; Bob Mansfield; Dan Riccio; and a newly hired executive Dowling declined to name.

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Bucher rose to the top position in Apples hardware unit when he replaced Jon Rubenstein, who held the position since Steve Jobs return to the company. Rubenstein moved to lead Apples iPod hardware design in May.

Last week, Mark Wilhelm, who served as vice president of AppleCare, Apples division that produces and manages support products and services, left the company. Wilhelm was not available for comment, though rumors have circulated that the AppleCare business unit faces a restructuring effort that could begin this month.

Both departures come as Apples stock has risen to longtime highs, and as the company has received optimistic guidance from an analyst at Piper Jaffray, who speculated that $100 per share is in sight.

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