Apple Inc. announces its first chief people officer in a major executive reshuffle. The trillion dollar conglomerate named ex-Medtronic EVP and CHRO, Carol Surface to take on the responsibilities of the HR department from Deirdre O’Brien, who will continue in her role as head of retail operations.
The move was announced in a memo to the employees by CEO Tim Cook. In the memo, he states that she will begin her role as CPO from March and will report directly to him.
Surface is a tenured HR professional, and comes with a rich work experience of over 20 years.
She worked at Best Buy as EVP and CHRO for almost 4 years though her longest stint was with PepsiCo. Surface started as the director, organisation and management development then moved up to the position of CPO- Asia, Africa and Middle-East. She worked with Pepsico for a decade.
Apple has made a significant change in its management team with the appointment of a new head of human resources. The company’s workforce, which numbered 164,000 at the end of September last year, will now be overseen by the new hire.
This move will give more importance to the HR role and free up Deirdre O’Brien, who currently holds the dual role of head of retail and human resources chief, to focus on the increasingly challenging retail operation. O’Brien, who has been with Apple for 30 years, will continue to oversee the company’s online store.
In a memo, CEO Tim Cook stated that Apple had always intended to hire a separate head of HR once O’Brien added retail to her responsibilities. Cook added that O’Brien is eager to concentrate fully on Apple retail and that she will work with the new HR head during the transition.
Apple’s retail operations have grown at a slower pace during the pandemic, but the company recently opened new stores in New Jersey and renovated its flagship store in Los Angeles, with plans to enter markets like India and Malaysia soon.
The reshuffle is one of the latest changes in Apple’s leadership team this year. Chief operating officer Jeff Williams’ role has been strengthened with industrial designers now reporting directly to him.
Adrian Perica, head of corporate development, has also taken on new responsibilities following the departure of Peter Stern. Unlike many large tech companies, Apple has slowed its hiring plans but has avoided mass layoffs.