Apple has announced that Mitch Mandich, senior vice president of worldwide sales, is to retire at the end of December.

Apple’s senior vice president of operations, Tim Cook, will assume Mandich’s responsibilities until a replacement is found. The role covers all Apple sales activities for all markets and countries.

Mandich brought more than 15 years' sales experience to Apple.

Before joining Apple in February 1997, he was vice president of worldwide sales and services at NeXT Software, where he led the strategy for Internet and client/server sales.

He began his career in computer technology at Unisys, where he held a variety of sales and management positions.

Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs said: “Mitch will be missed. He's been a key member of Apple’s senior management team during the past three years, and has led our sales efforts with vigor and integrity.

“Mitch plans to retire and spend more time with his family. We will miss him.”