The 20 people who run Apple - and why you should care

Don't know your Angela Ahrendts from your Luca Maestri? No need to be confused. Allow Macworld to walk you through a who's who of Apple executives: the 20 people who run the company

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  • ahrendts hero Angela Ahrendts
  • cook hero20110204 Tim Cook
  • cue hero2011090120080609 Eddy Cue
  • Apple execs Paul Deneve 800 Paul Deneve
  • Apple execs Steve Dowling 800 Steve Dowling
  • Apple execs Alan Dye 800 Alan Dye
  • federighi hero20120727 Craig Federighi
  • ag about Albert Gore Jr.
  • Apple execs Richard Howarth 800 Richard Howarth
  • IgerR1 Robert Iger
  • ive hero20110204 Jonathan Ive
  • Apple execs Lisa Jackson 800 Lisa Jackson
  • maestri hero Luca Maestri
  • Apple execs Joel Podolny 800 Joel Podolny
  • riccio hero2 Dan Riccio
  • schiller hero20110204 Phillip Schiller
  • sewell hero20110204 Bruce Sewell
  • Apple execs Johny Srouji 800 Johny Srouji
  • williams hero20110204 Jeff Williams
  • Apple execs Denise Young Smith 800 Denise Young Smith
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Angela Ahrendts

With the turnaround of Burberry under her belt and famous friends such as Will.I.Am in her contacts book, Angela Ahrendts was destined to bring a new sense of style to Apple when she joined the team in May 2014. Her role as senior vice-president of retail and online stores makes her the only female member of Apple's leadership team. She is now responsible for the operation of sales in 420 high-street stores as well as online sales, currently spanning 39 countries worldwide.

Before joining Apple, Ahrendts' career focused on fashion. Her first job in fashion after graduating with a degree in marketing and merchandising was at Donna Karan. After gaining experience at the fashion house, she later went on to work for Liz Claiborne Inc as the vice president of merchandising. It was whilst in this role that she was offered the position of the chief executive officer of Burberry. After initially turning down the offer, she later accepted, succeeding Rose Marie Bravo in 2006.

Read more: Who is Angela Ahrendts? Ahrendts officially becomes new head of Apple retail

Under Ahrendts' tenure at Burberry the company saw significant economic growth; Ahrendts is credited as leading Burberry into the digital era, expanding sales and growing revenues of £740m to almost £2bn in 2014. This has been achieved largely through Burberry's pioneering movement into online sales as well as through the extensive use of social media. The Regent Street Burberry outlet is considered to be one of the most technologically advanced fashion stores in the world, bringing the digital and physical successes of the company together into one store, a process that Ahrendts was highly involved with.

Ahrendts' other successes include being the UK's highest-paid CEO in 2012 and being a member of the Prime Minister's business advisory council. In addition to this, the American-born vice president was named as an honorary dame commander of the British Empire in April 2014.

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Next Prev ahrendts hero

With the turnaround of Burberry under her belt and famous friends such as Will.I.Am in her contacts book, Angela Ahrendts was destined to bring a new sense of style to Apple when she joined the team in May 2014. Her role as senior vice-president of retail and online stores makes her the only female member of Apple's leadership team. She is now responsible for the operation of sales in 420 high-street stores as well as online sales, currently spanning 39 countries worldwide.

Before joining Apple, Ahrendts' career focused on fashion. Her first job in fashion after graduating with a degree in marketing and merchandising was at Donna Karan. After gaining experience at the fashion house, she later went on to work for Liz Claiborne Inc as the vice president of merchandising. It was whilst in this role that she was offered the position of the chief executive officer of Burberry. After initially turning down the offer, she later accepted, succeeding Rose Marie Bravo in 2006.

Read more: Who is Angela Ahrendts? Ahrendts officially becomes new head of Apple retail

Under Ahrendts' tenure at Burberry the company saw significant economic growth; Ahrendts is credited as leading Burberry into the digital era, expanding sales and growing revenues of £740m to almost £2bn in 2014. This has been achieved largely through Burberry's pioneering movement into online sales as well as through the extensive use of social media. The Regent Street Burberry outlet is considered to be one of the most technologically advanced fashion stores in the world, bringing the digital and physical successes of the company together into one store, a process that Ahrendts was highly involved with.

Ahrendts' other successes include being the UK's highest-paid CEO in 2012 and being a member of the Prime Minister's business advisory council. In addition to this, the American-born vice president was named as an honorary dame commander of the British Empire in April 2014.

 

Tim Cook

Named as CEO in 2011, Tim Cook quickly left his mark on Apple, bringing out the iPad mini despite the late Steve Jobs claiming that Apple would 'never' release such a tablet with a smaller screen than the original iPad. The smaller iPad provided Apple with a route into the cheaper tablet market, opening up a new spectrum of consumers for the company.

Before becoming CEO of Apple, Cook's role at the company was as chief operating officer. His duties included being responsible for all of the company's worldwide sales and operations. Having executed his responsibilities with great skill and efficiency, he was later credited, along with Jobs, as being instrumental in bringing Apple back from the verge of bankruptcy.

Before joining Apple, Tim worked at IBM for 12 years followed by a three-year period at Intelligent Electronics. After this, he began a six-month stint at Compaq. It was whilst serving as vice president at Compaq that Cook was first approached by Apple. Having turned down work at the company multiple times, Cook eventually agreed to an interview with Jobs in 1998. Cook recalls that five minutes into the interview, he was ready to resign from Compaq and join Apple, sealing his fate as future CEO of the company.

Since becoming CEO at Apple, Cook has gone on to finalise hugely successful business deals including the acquisition of Beats Music and Beats Electronics in May 2014. The deal, described as Apple's biggest acquisition to date, was worth an estimated $3bn. It is hoped that the two companies will complement one another, developing future products for consumers of both Apple and Beats.

As well as being on the board of directors for Apple, Tim also serves on the board of directors of Nike and the National Football Foundation, making him one of the world's most influential businessmen.

Read more: Apple icons no. 1: Tim Cook, the man who makes Apple work

 

Eddy Cue

Eddy Cue is Apple's current senior vice-president of internet software and services, having been appointed to the position in 2011 after working at Apple for over 20 years. His position involves him overseeing the content of many of Apple's leading stores including the iTunes Store, the iBookstore and the App Store.

After graduating with a Computer Science and Economics degree from Duke University in 1986, Cue's involvement with Apple began in 1989. During his career at Apple, Cue managed to take on numerous responsibilities for the company whilst still finding time to show his support to the Duke University basketball team. His ability to manage and co-ordinate numerous activities with such skill made him an ideal candidate for senior vice president.

Since joining Apple, Cue has played a significant part in many of Apple's major accomplishments, including the creation of the original Apple Online Store in 1998 and the production of the iTunes Store in 2003. Along with this, he also had involvement in producing the App Store in 2008 and the transitioning of MobileMe into iCloud in 2011.

Cue's involvement with Apple has ensured that films, music and e-books are all accessible to iPad, iPod and iPhone owners. Cue's work in this area has provided Apple with the means to become one of the world's most valuable companies.

 

Paul Deneve

Formerly head of the fashion house Yves Saint Laurent, Paul Deneve was hired to give a stylish touch to Apple. He joined the team in 2013 as vice-president of special projects; but this wasn't the first time he had been involved with the company.

Born and educated in Belgium, Deneve flew to the US to get a master's degree in Business Administration from the University of Chicago and a master's degree in Management from Stanford University.

After his studies he worked as sales and marketing manager at Apple Europe. He then embarked on a promising career in the fashion industry, heading the French houses Nina Ricci and Lanvin.

After having nearly doubled Yves Saint Laurent's income, Paul Deneve leaped from Paris fashion to the Silicon Valley tech industry.

 

Steve Dowling

Steve Dowling was officially promoted to Apple's vice-president of communications in April 2015. He filled the gap left one year earlier by Katie Cotton, who departed from her job as head of Apple's public relations team in May 2014. (It's rumoured that Tim Cook wasn't keen on Cotton's approach to the media.)

After a bachelor's degree in Political Science at the University of Minnesota, Steve Dowling worked as a broadcast journalist at CNBC's Washington DC bureau. Later, he established CNBC's Silicon Valley bureau, serving as bureau chief.

In 2003 he moved to the Cupertino company, working for Apple's PR team. He then took over Katie Cotton's responsibilities when she retired from Apple.

During this period he demonstrated a flexible approach to Apple's public relations and communications strategy, and a completely different approach to the media compared to Katie Cotton. Because of his open ideas and remarkable leadership, he was officially promoted.

 

Alan Dye

From designing boxes for iPhones to vice-president of User Interface Design. Alan Dye's career progression at Apple makes a great story.

After graduating at Syracuse University in Communications Design, he held chief design roles at Landor Associates, Ogilvy & Mather's Brand Integration Group, and women's fashion brand Kate Spade. He also freelanced as graphic designer for many well-known publications, including The New York Times, NBA and New York Magazine.

Alan Dye arrived at Apple in 2006, employed as creative director. During the early stages of his career with the company, he worked on the design of product boxes, something Apple takes very seriously because of its importance in the consumer experience.

As creative director, he became known for his originality and attention to detail; for example, he suggested the idea of hand-painting the corner of every iPhone box, so they wouldn't get ruined during the shipping.

The talents Dye demonstrated in those years paved the way for his future career. In 2012, he joined Jonathan Ive's team to lead the User Interface group. It's understood that his contribution was vital in the development of iOS 7, OS X Yosemite and the Apple Watch operating system.

 

Craig Federighi

Relatively unheard of before his promotion in August 2012, Federighi's popularity increased after a series of keynote speeches catapulted him into the public eye. The self proclaimed 'Hair Force One' has risen through the ranks of Apple to hold the position of senior vice president of software engineering. Federighi's role in Apple is to oversee the operating system powering not only Macs but also iPhones and iPads.

Federighi's relationship with Apple began in 1996 after he graduated from the University of California with a Masters in Computer Science. After leaving for Ariba in 1999, Federighi returned to Apple in 2009 to aid in the building of Mac OS. Since returning in 2009, Federighi has worked on many of Apple's major software releases including one of the most successful OS X releases in Apple's history, Mountain Lion.

At the most recent Apple event, WWDC 2014, Federighi was the undisputed star of the show, cracking self-deprecating jokes and enthusiastically unveiling new software. The software in question, of course, was iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite.

 

Albert Gore Jr.

The former vice president of the United States joined the board of directors of Apple in 2003, with Steve Jobs noting Al Gore as being "an avid Mac user" and was excited about the "wealth of knowledge" that Bill Clinton's former deputy would bring to his position.

Though not directly working at Apple, Gore's role on the board of directors is vital, overseeing the activities of the company while reaping the benefits that the position's stock option grants allow.

Whilst the added financial incentives given by Apple have provided fuel for the cynics, Gore's keen interest in the environment has no doubt influenced Apple's move into more environmentally friendly practices. After being criticised in the past for producing excess greenhouse gases, Apple are now working to reduce their emissions and have successfully produced iMacs that now use 97% less energy in sleep mode than the first ones produced in 1998.

Read more: Why Apple was bad for the environment (and why that's changing)

Al Gore's time spent at Apple is relatively limited, with the politician preferring to devote more free hours to chairing the Climate Reality Project. The non-profit organisation was founded by Gore in 2006 after the award winning film An Inconvenient Truth piqued widespread interest in climate change. The organisation's aim is to not only raise awareness about global warming but to target politicians into making bigger changes and encouraging companies to use cleaner fuel.

Along with Apple and the Climate Reality Project, Al Gore is involved with several other companies including Generation Investment Management and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

 

Richard Howarth

Richard Howarth will never forget his RSA Student Design Award. He won this while studying at London's Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication (which counts David Bowie, Stella McCartney and Dinos Chapman among its alumni) and promptly used the accompanying bursary to fund a work placement at Sony.

After graduation, Howarth crossed the Atlantic, working for the design company IDEO at Bay Area.

In 1996 Jonathan Ive recruited Howarth as part of his design team; he then become a leading figure of the group. His contribution was fundamental in the development of the original iPod, iPhone 4 and 4S, the 2006 plastic MacBook and a series of other key Apple products.

Richard Howarth's obvious abilities won him a promotion in 2015, when he was appointed vice-president of Industrial Design.

 

Robert Iger

Bob Iger is the CEO and chairman of Disney and a member of Apple's board of directors.

Iger and Apple's relationship was solidified in 2006 when Disney purchased Pixar, the animation studio co-founded by Steve Jobs, for a deal worth an estimated $7.4bn. The transaction made Jobs not only Disney's biggest share holder but also saw him take up a position on the board of directors at the company.

After Jobs' death in 2011, Iger joined the board at Apple with the incentive that his successful expansion of Disney into new media would prove to be a credit to Apple.

Before becoming CEO of Disney in 2005, Iger's position at the animation company was in a presidential role, overseeing Disney's international operations. After succeeding Michael Eisner in 2005, Iger worked hard to salvage the relationship between Apple and Disney, once soured by bitter relations between Jobs and Eisner. This rebuilding work saw Disney acquire Pixar and subsequently intertwine with Apple.

Along with his involvement at Apple and Disney, Iger was also appointed by Barack Obama in 2010 to serve as a member of the President's Export Council. His role on the council requires Iger to act in an advisory position to the president on policies and programs affecting trade performance in the US.

Iger's contract with Disney is set to reach an end in 2016 though it is not yet known whether Iger will retire from his position or continue to work at Disney in an alternative role.

 

Jonathan Ive

Born in Essex in 1967, Jonathan Ive showed a natural flair for design technology from an early age that would lead him to become one of Apple's most famed employees. Born into a creative family with a silversmith for a father, it was only a matter of time before Ive's own skills in design were realised. His interest in technology was cultivated in his teens, with Ive designing his first phone whilst still studying for an Arts degree at University in Northumbria. It was his keen eye for quality that allowed him to earn awards, even before he had graduated.

It was whilst he was still at University that employers were beginning to pay attention to his talent, with Ive securing his first job with a company that had sponsored him through further education. This didn't deter other companies from providing him with more lucrative offers and Ive soon moved on. His second step into the career industry saw Ive take a job as a senior member of the design firm Tangerine, which allowed him to utilise his design skills in a wide range of products including power tools and wash basins. But for Ive, the job offers continued to flood in. Despite companies' best efforts, only one was successful in drawing Ive away from Tangerine, and only after a series of attempts. That company was Apple.

Read more: The 13 most philosophical Jony Ive quotesSir Jony Ive quiz!

Since joining Apple in 1992, leaving England for San Francisco to join the design team, Ive has been one of the major forces behind Apple's seamless, high-quality products. His design philosophy focuses on quality and visual appeal rather than how much they cost, and this seemingly extravagant attention to detail has seen Apple's products go from strength to strength in popularity. His ideas even pushed Apple into creating white products, despite the fact that Steve Jobs was initially against the idea.

Jonathan Ive is currently chief design officer at Apple. His experience in the field has allowed him to oversee and direct Apple's design team, which is considered to be one of the best in the world.

Along with his technological successes, Jonathan Ive is also a keen charity supporter. In 2013 Ive, along with Marc Newson and the musician Bono, arranged a charity auction to raise funding for research into combatting Aids in Africa. The auction raised more than $13 million, which was then matched by The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation meaning that the final total raised was $26.2 million.

 

Lisa Jackson

Who knows better than Lisa Jackson how to boost Apple's efforts at environmental protection? After all, even Barack Obama noticed her expertise and influence when he nominated her as administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency in 2009.

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Jackson got a master's degree in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University and a bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from Tulane University.

During her early career, she worked as engineer at the Environmental Protection Agency; then she joined the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection as assistant commissioner. From 2006, she served as a commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection; afterwards she was appointed as chief of staff to New Jersey Governor Jon S Corzine.

During her EPA administration, Jackson focused on issues such as air and water pollution, toxic contamination and reducing greenhouse emissions.

In 2013, she joined Apple with the title of vice-president of environmental affairs. Her expertise, along with her close connections to senior government and industry officials, made her the first candidate to take over Apple's responsibility of "leaving the world better than when we found it", as stressed by Tim Cook.

Then in 2015, she became Apple's vice-president of environment, policy and social initiatives. Her role includes not only environmental protection, but also education initiatives, such as bringing Apple technology into schools through government programmes.

Read next: Green Apple: Why Apple was bad for the environment (and why that's changing)

 

Luca Maestri

Maestri was announced as the candidate chosen to succeed Peter Oppenheimer as Apple's senior vice president and chief finance officer in May 2014. Having only joined Apple in 2013, Maestri oversees various financial matters within the company including accounting, investor relations and tax functions.

Before joining Apple, Maestri gained experience in leading financial teams all over the world at companies including Xerox, Nokia and General Motors, acting as CFO for each.

Maestri's business career has seen him travel all over the world. After graduating from University in Rome with a degree in Economics, Maestri then received a Master's degree in Science of Management from Boston University. After his educational successes, Maestri went on to live in various countries throughout the world including Poland, Brazil, Thailand and Germany. His international experience is no doubt part of the key to his success in major worldwide companies.

 

Joel Podolny

Aware of his cancer worsening, Steve Jobs hired Joel Podolny in 2008 to set up Apple University and pass on Jobs' management philosophy to future executives.

Before starting his career, Podolny had himself been a high-achieving student. He earned his bachelor's (magna cum laude) and master's degrees from Harvard, followed by a PhD.

For 11 years he worked at Stanford University Graduate School of Business, where he held various faculty positions. Later, he became professor and Director of Research at Harvard Business School.

In 2005 Podolny joined Yale School of Management where he initially served as a professor, using his empirical methods and sociological knowledge to teach economics and explain leadership effectively. His approach and talent were soon recognised by a promotion to the position of Dean.

Upon his arrival at Apple, he was appointed head of human resources. In 2014 he became senior vice-president and Dean of Apple University, leaving his HR role to devote himself to the training programme. He then put heart and soul into developing and spreading Jobs' creed.

 

Dan Riccio

Riccio's career at Apple is now more than halfway through its second decade: he joined the team in 1998. His degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts provided him with the skills required to flourish at Apple, contributing to many of Apple's hardware launches throughout his career.

His talent in engineering eventually saw him transition to become the vice president of the iPad division and was instrumental in the launch of the first ever generation of iPads in 2010.

Since this time, Riccio has been involved with all subsequent iPad products and his expertise in this area saw him promoted in 2012 to senior vice president of engineering. His new role saw him replace Bob Mansfield who announced his retirement from the position earlier in 2012. Dan now leads the engineering teams covering Mac, iPhone, iPod and iPad.

 

Phillip Schiller

Drawing on 25 years worth of experience in marketing and management, Phillip Schiller holds one of Apple's most senior positions as senior vice president of worldwide marketing, having held this role since his return to Apple in 1997. Schiller's role at Apple is to market the company's many products, specifically the iPod, iPad, iPhone and Mac.

Schiller courted controversy in 2013 after his comments added further fuel to the Android vs. iPhone fire, suggesting that Android phones are inferior to the iPhone. Schiller claimed the components of an Android phone did not work as 'seamlessly' as those of the iPhone, and no doubt did little to resolve the ongoing war between the two companies. Research that found four times as many people switch from Android to iPhones than vice versa suggested there might be some evidence behind Schiller’s reasoning.

Schiller's main appearances in the public eye come from his role in supporting Steve Jobs in several keynote presentations, with Schiller taking over many presentations after Jobs took a medical leave of absence.

As well as being behind the marketing for many of Apple's products, Schiller is also credited as having the idea to create the original iPod with a scrolling interface.

 

Bruce Sewell

One of the world's leading lawyers, Bruce Sewell, was appointed as general counsel and senior vice president of legal and government affairs of Apple in 2009.

Since joining the Apple team, Sewell has been involved in law cases fighting the use of mobile devices running the Android operating system. Apple argue that such products using this system, including Samsung Galaxy phone and tablet, 'slavishly' copy the iPhone and iPad. Before Sewell joined the company, Apple rarely filed lawsuits, yet within six months of joining, Sewell had already lead Apple's first pro-active patent infringement suit against its smartphone competitors. Since this time, Apple has been awarded more than 1,000 patents and Sewell's fight against sales of Android operating systems has shown little in the way of relenting.

Read more: Will Apple go after Google in thermonuclear war?

Before joining Apple, Sewell worked and enjoyed success at Intel, having joined there in 1995 as a senior attorney. Sewell was responsible at Intel for all of their legal affairs and in 2001 was promoted to vice president. His responsibilities and successes continued to flourish and by 2004, Sewell had taken over as general counsel, supervising roughly 600 people located in over 30 countries throughout the world.

Even before working at Intel, Sewell had indirect links to Apple, the company that would one day employ him. One of the first law companies whom Sewell worked for was Brown and Bain. The company was responsible for the representation of Apple in its copyright infringement case against Microsoft's Windows graphical interface. Despite losing the case, neither Sewell nor Apple were deterred from working with one another and now Sewell possesses one of the most sought-after positions at Apple.

 

Johny Srouji

Johny Srouji lends Apple's management an international flavour. Born and raised in Haifa, Srouji is the first Israeli to join Apple's senior leadership team.

Since August 2013, he has held the role of vice-president of hardware technologies, but Johny Srouji has worked for Apple since 2008. Before being appointed vice-president, he was a key leader in the development of the first custom system on a cellular chip, the A4, and registered two patents with the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Before arriving at Apple, Srouji got his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Israel's Technion institute of technology. Then he served in senior roles at both Intel and IBM. Faithful to his Israeli roots, he was a key leader in developing Apple's first R&D centre in Israel in 2011.

 

Jeff Williams

Having joined Apple in 1998 as head of Worldwide Procurement, it was only six years later that Jeff was named as vice president of operations.

His roles in Apple have been numerous with arguably his most significant contribution being the role he played in moving Apple into the mobile phone market with the iPhone. Along with this, his work on a deal with Hynix for $1.25bn for their flash memory aided Apple in the launch of the Nano.

Having been promoted to senior vice president of operations in 2010, Williams' main duties nowadays are to ensure Apple's products get manufactured, shipped and delivered on time and to the highest quality possible.

Before working at Apple, Williams worked at IBM from 1985 to 1998 after securing a mechanical engineering degree from North Carolina State University.

Despite his success at Apple, Williams has never been one to court press attention and his private life is relatively unknown. Williams is said to be one of Apple's most down-to-earth employees, with rumours stating that he still drove round in an old Toyota, even after being promoted to management status. Like many other Apple employees, Williams is a keen health enthusiast with a strong interest in cycling.

 

Denise Young Smith

Denise Smith has a challenge: to bring diversity to Apple's workforce, which remains overwhelmingly male and white.

Unlike some of its tech rivals, Apple has declared its intention to improve equality for its employees, especially among senior executives. Denise Smith was appointed Apple's vice-president of Worldwide Human Resources in 2014 with this as her key focus.

Before her promotion, Denise Smith has been an Apple insider for almost 18 years, during which time she held various leading HR roles.

Previous to this, she earned her bachelor's degree in communications and master's in organisational management from Grambling State University in Louisiana. Then she was an HR and management consultant for early-stage business.

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