Bob Mansfield no longer on Apple's executive team, still working on special projects

Bob Mansfield no longer on Apple's executive team, still working on special projects

Bob Mansfield, until today listed as senior vice president of technologies, is no longer part of Apple's leadership, although he's not left the company either. Apple's Steve Dowling provided the following statement to John Paczkowski of All Things D:

“Bob is no longer going to be on Apple’s executive team, but will remain at Apple working on special projects reporting to Tim,” company spokesman Steve Dowling told AllThingsD. He declined any further explanation, refusing to comment on the reasons behind Mansfield’s abrupt demotion or whether Apple plans to appoint a new SVP of technologies.

A similar statement was also provided to Poornima Gupta of Reuters, who shared it earlier on Twitter. Mansfield was originally set to retire in January of 2012, but he later returned, reportedly at the behest of Tim Cook, to work on - wait for it - future projects. Following a leadership shake-up, Mansfield was named senior vice president, technologies. Most recently Mansfield has been connected to the iWatch story.

As of today, he's back where he was, pre-shake-up. At least for now. No more word yet on what exactly is happening or why.

UPDATE: Mansfield is reportedly still loved at Apple, really just wants to focus on the next big thing.

Source: All Things D

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 16 comments. Add yours.

Rolf says:

In my experience, when someone moves to "special projects" it means that things just aren't working out with that person and they're being phased out. Interesting.

ronm88 says:

Or alternatively, he is ready to retire for real and is giving Tim Cook some time to help with the transition. When it was announced that he would come back, they did say he was coming back for the short term only.

Solamar says:

Originally, when he came back, it was said to be a 2 year agreement. My understanding is that those under him were not happy with the new replacement. This was likely to give them time to get used to the new head. We're getting close to that. This is probably just prep for his eventual retirement that would have happened.

SockRolid says:

The conversation must have gone something like this, back in summer of 2012 after Apple officially announced Bob's retirement:

Tim: "Bob, we need you back. Too many future products."

Bob: "Not if that weasel Forstall is still there."

Tim: "Got rid of the weasel. It's all Ive now."

Bob: "OK, but it'll cost you. And I don't want a 9-to-5 grind."

Tim: "We'll pay you XYZ. But you'll need to go 9-to-5 for the first year."

Bob: "Just a year of the 9-to-5 grind? OK. Where do I sign?"

sectime says:

What has Cook brought to the table besides supply chain management?? Are we starting a redo of the Sculley years? Bob take the money and run.

Darrell James says:

ameen bob.....you go overseas iam waiting...take that money...and 2 words IM GONE!!!!!GOD BLESS BOB tc darrellj

Dark_Blu says:

That was my thought. Other than Supply chain management, what else has Tim done? Falling sales. Dwindling marketshare, and being stuck on the iPhone 4 Design far too long into two other models (4S, 5) and perhaps more if the rumored 5S and 5 plastic edition are coming.

lkrupp says:

what else has Tim done?

How about making money hand over fist for the company and its investors.? How about still being the biggest tech company, by far, in terms of market capitalization? How about building Apple to the point of dwarfing Microsoft in sales and profits? How about shaming the haters into spouting utter nonsense about the demise of the company?

sectime says:

Bromances are a beautiful thing. When you start on third base like Timmy, reaching home
is NOT a homerun.

rogifan says:

I see the Cook haters are out in full force. Shouldn't you guys be posting on Engadget or something?

sectime says:

Informative, constructive, thanks for contributing to the discussion :)

Edouard Bry says:

As long as Apple did not entirely got rid of Samsung among its suppliers, Tim Cook would be a fool to launch a smashing new product or evolution of an existing one. As long as Samung provides key components,they are somehow aware of Apple's product launches.

In value, Samsung holds 95% of the Android market by copying Apple. The next big hit by Apple, to be decisive, must rely on a technology Samsung cannot copy in less than three years, for instance the liquid metal used by Omega.

SockRolid says:

@ Rolf re: "In my experience, when someone moves to "special projects" it means that things just aren't working out with that person and they're being phased out. Interesting."

If you came out of retirement, would you want to get plugged back into the same old daily high-stress environment you retired from? Probably not. You'd probably ask for a position with more flexibility and less fire-fighting. Hence "special projects." (Which also ties in with Apple's whole secrecy thing: non-specific job title.)

No, I think you're conflating Bob's situation with Andy Rubin's situation. It's possible that Andy had a fight with Eric / Sergey / Larry over Android's direction and focus. Sure. It happens. Just like the whole Forstall saga at Apple.

But the most likely scenario is that Google top brass told Andy that traditional Android is more or less done, that Google's focus will be on Glass and Chrome going forward, and that Andy needed to adapt or die. He chose to adapt, and is now working on Glass (or Chromecast).