Apple has announced that Avadis “Avie” Tevanian Jr, PhD, will become the company’s chief software technology officer. Bertrand Serlet will be promoted to senior vice president of Software Engineering. In his new role, Tevanian will focus on setting company-wide software technology directions, and Serlet will now report directly to Apple CEO Steve Jobs and lead the company’s OS Software Engineering group.

“This will be a seamless handoff,” said Jobs. “Panther, the next major release of Mac OS X, is in great shape and everything is on track to ship it later this year, making this a good time to let Avie return to a more hands-on technical role and to promote Bertrand to lead our entire OS software engineering team.”

“This is something I’ve wanted to do for some time,” said Tevanian. “I’m incredibly proud of the products the software engineering team has delivered over the past few years, and I am 100 per cent confident that their success will continue under Bertrand’s leadership.”

Serlet has been Apple’s vice president of Platform Technology, managing the largest part of the Mac OS software engineering group. He joined Apple in 1997 and has been a key player in the definition, development and creation of Mac OS X. Before joining Apple, Serlet spent four years at Xerox PARC, then joined NeXT in 1989. Serlet holds a doctorate in Computer Science from the University of Orsay, France.

Tevanian joined Apple in February of 1997 as senior vice president of Software Engineering, and holds a PhD and a Masters of Science degree in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics from the University of Rochester.