Apple announced on Monday that Scott Forstall, the senior vice President of iOS software, will be leaving the company in 2013.
In the meantime, Forstall will apparently step down from his SVP role and will be an "advisor" to CEO Tim Cook. Execs Jony Ive, Bob Mansfield, Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi will all be taking on more responsibility as a result of the shakeup.
Retail boss John Browett will also be leaving the company. According to a press release published on the company's website, "the Retail team will report directly to Tim Cook" until a new head of retail is found.
“We are in one of the most prolific periods of innovation and new products in Apple’s history,” Tim Cook said in a statement, per the release. “The amazing products that we’ve introduced in September and October, iPhone 5, iOS 6, iPad mini, iPad, iMac, MacBook Pro, iPod touch, iPod nano and many of our applications, could only have been created at Apple and are the direct result of our relentless focus on tightly integrating world-class hardware, software and services.”
Forstall has been a major force at Apple since 1997 and is credited with a good deal of the success of the iOS platform and had previously been in charge of the company's Mac OS software releases. However, his leadership role on the half-baked Apple Maps app, for which Tim Cook recently issued a public apology, may have contributed significantly to his leaving the company.
Adam Lashinsky, author of Inside Apple, theorized on Twitter that Forstall was the "DRI" — directly responsible individual — for Maps and Siri, and thus "paid the price" for Apple's troubles with those two key iOS features. The DRI model was one that Steve Jobs believed strongly in during his role as Apple's CEO, and it looks like the concept lives on under Tim Cook's direction.
However, TechCrunch argues that Forstall may have made his own decision to step away from his SVP role at Apple, perhaps to "to seek out other opportunities where he might take more of a leadership role."
With his departure, Apple's celebrated design guru Jony Ive will take on human interface management across the company. Eddy Cue, SVP of Internet software and services, will be taking over management of the company's Siri and Maps divisions. SVP of Mac Software Engineering Craig Federighi will now lead both iOS and OS X teams.
Browett just took on the role as Apple's SVP of retail back in January. According to AllThingsD, his departure is less of a shock than Forstall's. "Since he got the job, he has alienated many within the highly successful retail organization at Apple, many sources said," writes Kara Swisher for ATD.
The Wall Street Journal writes that Browett may have been responsible for rumors this summer of staffing issues in Apple's retail business.
Browett earlier told employees the company made mistakes with its staffing levels, leading to news reports that the company was cutting employees, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal in August. The company had been trying a new staffing formula for its retail stores, he said, according to that report.
The Associated Press is calling this the biggest shakeup in Apple's upper management since Tim Cook took over as CEO last August.
This post has been updated.