With the passing of Apple CEO and founder Steve Jobs last year, there was much speculation as to whether his successor, Tim Cook, could provide the same level of inspiration and drive that led Apple to become arguably the world s most innovative and successful technology company. The wealth of talent at Apple (the senior vice president of industrial design, Jonathan Ive, was recently knighted) suggested even without its charismatic leader, the company had the right people to guide Apple into a successful future.
Last week's announcement that Apple's senior vice president of hardware engineering Bob Mansfield will retire after a transition of several months follows the November 2011 departure of Apple store builder Ron Johnson--and has raised some eyebrows in the tech media world, leading some to question the structure of Apple's top-tier design team.
Dan Riccio, current vice president of iPad hardware engineering, will take over for Mansfield. Riccio joined Apple in 1998 as vice president of product design.
In a press statement on the announcement, Apple called Riccio instrumental in all of Apple's iPads since the first generation of the products and said he had been a key contributor to the majority of Apple's hardware over his career. The company also noted Apple's entire hardware engineering team would continue to report to Mansfield until his departure, and mentioned Riccio earned a bachelor s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1986.
"Bob has been an instrumental part of our executive team, leading the hardware engineering organization and overseeing the team that has delivered dozens of breakthrough products over the years," Cook said in a prepared statement. "We are very sad to have him leave and hope he enjoys every day of his retirement. Dan has been one of Bob's key lieutenants for a very long time and is very well respected within Apple and by the industry. Our hardware engineering team is the best engineering team on earth and will not miss a beat during the transition."