Apple’s vice president of communications, Steve Dowling, is leaving the company after 16 years, reports Recode.
Dowling in 2014 took over from Katie Cotton, Apple’s former PR lead who left the company. Since then, he’s been running Apple’s PR team.
Dowling first joined Apple in 2003, serving as Apple’s head of corporate public relations under Katie Cotton until assuming the vice president position after Cotton’s departure.
In a memo to staff, Dowling this week said that “it’s time” and that he plans to take time off from working.
After 16 years at Apple, countless keynotes, product launches and the occasional PR crisis, I’ve decided that the time is right for me to step away from our remarkable company. This is something that has been on my mind for a while, and it came into sharp focus during the latest — and for me, last — launch cycle. Your plans are set and the team is executing brilliantly as ever. So, it’s time.
Phil will be managing the team on an interim basis starting today, and I’ll be available through the end of October to help with the transition. After that, I plan to take a good, long stretch of time off before trying something new. At home I have a supportive, patient spouse in Petra and two beautiful children blossoming into their teen years. I’m looking forward to creating more memories with the three of them while I have the chance.
My loyalty to Apple and its people knows no bounds. Working with Tim and this team, accomplishing all we have done together, has been the highlight of my career. I want to thank you for your hard work, your patience and your friendship. And I wish you every success.
I will always bleed six colors.
In a statement on Dowling’s departure, Apple said that it’s grateful for all that Dowling has done for the company.
“Steve Dowling has been dedicated to Apple for more than 16 years and has contributed to the company at every level through many of its most significant moments. From the first iPhone and App Store to Apple Watch and AirPods, he has helped tell Apple’s story and share our values with the world. Following another successful product launch, he has decided to leave Apple to spend some much deserved time with his family. He leaves behind a tremendous legacy that will serve the company well into the future. We’re grateful to him for all that he’s given to Apple and wish him the best.”
Dowling will remain at Apple until the end of October. Marketing chief Phil Schiller will take over for Dowling in the interim while Apple looks to fill its lead PR role. Apple is said to be considering both internal and external candidates.