Former Apple exec Tevanian joins Palm-backing Elevation Partners

January Clearance Apple Blowout“Former Apple software chief Avie Tevanian is becoming a venture capitalist, joining former Apple CFO Fred Anderson at Silicon Valley’s Elevation Partners,” Ina Fried reports for CNET.

“At Elevation Partners, Tevanian will serve as a managing director aiming to spot new investment possibilities and help guide the firm’s investment companies and strategy,” Fried reports.

Full article here.

“Tevanian spent nearly 10 years at Cupertino-based Apple,” The Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal reports.

“His roles there included senior vice president of software engineering, where he led the software engineering team that developed OS X, the operating system that today powers many Apple products including desktops, notebooks, servers, the iPhone and the iPod,” The Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal reports.

“Tevanian left Apple in March 2006 in the midst of an option charges investigation,” The Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Why’d they name it “Elevation Partners?” Because that’s where Apple’s refuse keeps piling up. wink

Avie, don’t forget to attend both the morning and afternoon “Bitch, Whine, and Moan about Steve Jobs” daily meetings.

As John Paczkowski reports for AllThingsD, “By enlisting with Elevation, Tevanian joins a group of Palm-backing Apple alums that includes Palm Chairman and CEO Jon Rubinstein, formerly Apple’s senior vice president of hardware engineering; Senior VP of Product Development Mike Bell, former SVP of product development at Apple; Senior Apple designer Jeff Zwerner; VP of Public Relations Lynn Fox, who once headed up Mac PR for the Cupertino, Calif., company; and, of course, board member Fred Anderson, who served as Apple’s CFO from 1996 to 2004.”

Elevation Partners’ press release, verbatim:

Elevation Partners today announced that Avadis “Avie” Tevanian has joined the firm as a Managing Director. Tevanian brings to Elevation more than two decades of operational and software expertise in consumer and technology businesses. Most recently, Tevanian was Chief Software Technology Officer at Apple, Inc., and a member of the company’s senior management team, where he led Apple’s software strategy and development.
Fred Anderson, Managing Director and co-founder of Elevation said, “Avie and I worked closely together at Apple for many years and I have always admired his engineering talent and leadership, his strategic vision for how software can transform businesses and his ability to execute on that vision. We are proud that he has decided to join Elevation and believe he will be a huge asset as we explore new investment opportunities”.

Mr. Tevanian said, “Elevation Partners has put together an impressive investment team with the technological expertise and operational experience to identify future opportunities and implement change within existing businesses to seize those opportunities. This is just one of the many reasons I am excited to join Fred and the rest of the Elevation team.”

As a Managing Director, Tevanian will assist Elevation in the evaluation of new investment opportunities, advise those companies and help drive the strategy of the firm.

“We are thrilled by the recent addition of two new partners, Rajiv Dutta and Avie Tevanian, who together bring incredible capabilities and relationships to Elevation enhancing our ability to pursue transformational investments in the future,” added Roger McNamee, Managing Director and co-founder of Elevation.

Tevanian spent nearly 10 years at Apple. Prior to serving as Chief Software Technology Officer, he was Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, where he led the software engineering team that developed OS X, the operating system that today powers many Apple products including desktops, notebooks, servers, the iPhone and the iPod Touch. While at Apple, he served as a member of the executive team that led the company’s turnaround.

Earlier in his career, Tevanian was Vice President of Software Engineering at NeXT Computer and was responsible for managing NeXT’s software engineering department and the NeXTSTEP operating system.

Tevanian holds a B.A. in mathematics from University of Rochester and earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University. While at Carnegie Mellon, Tevanian was a principal designer and engineer of the Mach operating system, which OS X is based upon.

He currently serves on the Board of Directors at Dolby Laboratories, Inc. and is a former Board member of Tellme Networks, Inc., an internet telecom company acquired by Microsoft.


Elevation Partners is a $1.9 billion private equity firm that makes large-scale investments in market-leading and consumer-related businesses where it can partner with management to enhance growth and profitability through a combination of strategic capital and operational insight. Its investment team has a unique combination of industry expertise and relationships; investing experience; and operating knowledge. Elevation’s seven partners are Fred Anderson; Marc Bodnick; Bono, Rajiv Dutta, Roger McNamee, Bret Pearlman and Avie Tevanian.


  1. Add me to the list MDN, calling Tevanian refuse couldn’t be more wrong. This guy was a key player in OS X.

    Whoever made the comment about buying Apple stock was spot on though. The best thing these Apple folks could have done was hang onto their Apple stock, although in reality I imagine Anderson and Tevanian still have considerable equity in Apple and Elevation is some play money.

    We can all laugh about Rube’s over inflated importance to Apple but this is a serious player in the creation of OS X. Bad MDN, Bad.

  2. @Begtodiffer

    Absolutely correct. Fred was left hanging out in the breeze with the SEC where he paid a substantial fine even though he didn’t accept or deny guilt. Damn straight Fred has a big darn axe to grind with Steve.

    Can’t believe that Avie had any role in the options scam, so doesn’t appear that he would have a big axe to grind with Steve.

    Both guys are very talented though. You don’t get to hang around Apple for that many years without being pretty bright, so back off MDN.

  3. Just as if you came out with a better hardware than the Mac or the iPhone it won’t be as successful as it is in the apple products, Apple system is in perfect balance, in the same way, all their executives, no mater how important are in apple, they will not came out with such products any where else. It is the complete system, Steve Jobs, Jonathan Ive, etc. Just ask Paul Rubinstein at Palm…

  4. From what I have read, Mr. Tevanian is a brilliant software systems engineer who was the, or one of the, principal architects of OSX from its earliest origins at NeXTSTEP. He therefore played a very key role in the turnaround and resurgence of Apple; thus, he deserves our admiration and appreciation. I imagine his departure from Apple represented a significant loss of expertise. Clearly, he is a great addition for Elevation Partners.

  5. Avie Tevanian brought his PHD thesis knowledge at Carnegie Mellon to NextStep and that eventually became Mac OS X.
    Calling him refuse is pathetic. The guy is a brilliant systems engineer and could help Palm way more than MDN is dismissing.

  6. Without Tevanian, there wouldn’t have been NeXTStep and Mac OS X. It was disappointing when he decided to leave Apple. However, Apple has proved that Mac OS X team is so much more than Tevanian with the release of major upgrades. If he thinks being with Elevation Partners as a VC managing director is better than using his technical knowledge at Apple, well, that’s his life.

    Wu Ming: “The guy is a brilliant systems engineer and could help Palm way more than MDN is dismissing.

    The guy won’t help Palm as a brilliant systems engineer.
    1. He doesn’t even work for Palm. He works for Elevation Partners that invest (lose) money in Palm.
    2. He works as a managing director to spot new investment possibilities and to help guide the firm’s investment companies and strategy (i.e not as an engineer).

  7. Hey, VC guys always join a firm based on personal relationships. I would have been surprised if he joined a firm without any former colleagues.

    I think very highly of Avie. He can and does evaluate talent and ideas and make them happen. That’s the only job a vc guy has.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.