Apple Inc. (AAPL:US), the world’s most valuable company, said Dan Riccio will take over as head of hardware engineering to succeed Bob Mansfield, who plans to retire in the coming months.
Riccio is currently the vice president in charge of iPad hardware engineering, the Cupertino, California-based company said today in a statement. Mansfield joined Apple in 1999 through an acquisition.
Mansfield worked closely with Apple design chief Jony Ive to ensure that products, including the iPhone, iPad and Mac, functioned as well as they looked. Riccio, a Mansfield lieutenant, has worked closely on the iPad from the start, Apple said. In two years, Apple has used the iPad to become the leader in tablets, a market that DisplaySearch predicts will reach $66.4 billion this year.
“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,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive officer, said in the statement. “We are very sad to have him leave and hope he enjoys every day of his retirement.”
Mansfield was often featured in Apple’s promotional videos, talking about the company’s engineering accomplishments.
His retirement is the first major executive departure at Apple since retail head Ron Johnson left last year to become CEO of J.C. Penney Co. Johnson was replaced by John Browett, the former CEO of Dixons Retail Plc. (DXNS)
In the case of Mansfield’s retirement, Cook is selecting an internal replacement. Riccio, who joined in 1998, “has been a key contributor to most of Apple’s hardware,” Apple said. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1986, Apple said.
One of Cook’s biggest challenges is retaining top employees, especially many who have become rich as Apple’s share price has risen, said Shaw Wu, an analyst at Sterne Agee & Leach Inc. Mansfield filed in February to sell 30,000 Apple shares worth $13.6 million, according to regulatory filings.
Promoting an internal candidate like Riccio brings a new generation of leadership to the company, Wu said. Mansfield has been in charge of Mac hardware engineering since 2005 and took over supervision for Apple’s mobile devices in 2010.
“You need for the next generation of leaders to give them incentives to stay and show a path for growth,” Wu said.
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