Apple University dean Joel Podolny leaves company for startup

Apple Park photo of the side of the main building
Apple Park photo of the side of the main building (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Joel Podolny has left Apple.
  • Podolny created and ran Apple University since 2009.
  • He has been replaced with two co-deans that previously worked for him.

Apple is going to have to look for a new dean for its university.

As reported by Bloomberg, Joel Podolny, the dean of Apple University, has left the company to join a startup. The university serves as the company's in-house training management platform and Podolny had developed it with Steve Jobs over a decade ago.

Podolny had run the program since early 2009, when he was hired by former Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs to create the program. He previously served as a dean of the Yale School of Management and a professor at Harvard University.Podolny was a steward of Apple's corporate culture as the company pushed into new markets and coped with the death of Jobs, its visionary co-founder. He had worked with Jobs to create Apple University as a way to teach executives about the company's values -- and what it had learned from decades of decision-making. Courses have included topics such as Apple's relocation of manufacturing to China and the creation of retail stores in the early 2000s, according to the book "Inside Apple."

Podolny had also run the company's HR department but handed that role off to someone else. It is now run by Diedre O'Brien.

In addition to shepherding Apple University, Podolny also was brought on to run the company's human resources department. But he dropped that role in 2014 to focus on the Apple management school full-time. The company has hired dozens of professors from schools such as Harvard, the University of California at Berkeley and Stanford University to teach classes. Top Apple executives also serve as instructors in the program, which has dozens of employees globally.

Two executives that had reported to Podolny have taken over Apple University together.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.