Brain drain? Apple’s Bob Mansfield is 2nd key exec to leave since Steve Jobs died

“One of the concerns after Steve Jobs died was whether Apple’s institutional values — as embodied by his hand-picked executive team — would survive his passing,” Philip Elmer-DeWitt writes for Fortune. “The team lost a key member when Ron Johnson, who built the Apple Stores, departed in November run J.C. Penney. Because Johnson made his decision to leave public nine months before Jobs died, that didn’t seem to count.”

P.E.D. writes, “But when Apple announced in a news release Thursday night that senior vice president for hardware engineering Bob Mansfield was retiring, the tech press took notice… Apple’s press release doesn’t provide Mansfield’s age, but he looks pretty young for a retiree. We’ve seen no evidence that he was forced out. Perhaps the burden of supervising so many important products finally took their toll.”

“Mansfield can certainly afford to retire,” P.E.D. writes. “Between August 2008 and March 2012, according to MarketWatch’s insider trading log, he sold Apple shares worth nearly $98 million (some of them to pay taxes). According to his latest SEC filing, he still holds 120,000 shares worth, as of Thursday’s close, another $68 million. Other members of Apple’s executive team are just as rich — if not richer. That’s one of the downsides of rewarding employees of a successful company with stock options. Keeping those multimillionaires — and their institutional memory — around will be one of Tim Cook’s great challenges.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As Steve Jobs said:

Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.

I was worth over $1,000,000 when I was 23, and over $10,000,000 when I was 24, and over $100,000,000 when I was 25, and it wasn’t that important because I never did it for the money.

Now — and we’re not talking about Mansfield or Johnson here — if your goal is to get rich and cash out, Apple doesn’t want you. It’s not a “great challenge” for Tim Cook, it’s self-selected winnowing. Cook just needs to make sure the wheat is ready as the chaff blows away.

Related articles:
Bob Mansfield, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Engineering, to retire; Dan Riccio to take over – June 28, 2012
Apple’s retail store chief Johnson off to J.C. Penney; expected to become CEO within months – June 14, 2011


  1. Any implication that Bob is leaving “for the money” is just more pissing in the wind by people who nothing about the man. Apple under Steve Jobs took succession planning quite seriously, so we shouldn’t be worried by this.

  2. Ron Johnson, who built the Apple Stores, departed in November run J.C. Penney

    Uh yeah. That’s not working out. The last quarter for J.C. Penney stores was crap on toast. I suspect he’s sorry he left.

    …senior vice president for hardware engineering Bob Mansfield was retiring

    I remember when Eastman Kodak ‘retired’ hundreds of employees in the 1990s quite deliberately in order to stop financial hemorrhaging. Now THAT was a brain drain! Kodak never recovered. It’s amazing how one guy retiring from Apple becomes a major tizzy for TechTard journalists. I think maybe they need something important to occupy their minds at the day job.

    BTW: I used to live next to a guy who ‘retired’ in his late 20s from software development. He made his millions, retired and focused on real life, as opposed to business games. BFD.

  3. it wasn’t that important because I never did it for the money.

    Then why did you feel compelled to screw Woz out of his fair share of profit so early on? Why?

    1. I don’t think you have to feel too sorry for Woz, orange. He is, or at least should be, a billionaire.

      But to respond to your comment, perhaps Jobs realized that it would be best for Apple if Woz wasn’t involved in an official capacity at the company, given Woz’s propensity for spontaneously making ill-considered comments…

  4. Having execs leave is a part of life within a highly successful company. Rob Johnson was given an opportunity to run a large company and turn around one of the great historical brands in U.S. history. Mansfield retired. It happens, and certainly doesn’t mean there’s some sort of mass exodus at Apple or that Apple is losing its key management.

    If you want to see execs leaving en mass, check out Microsoft and RIM over the past two years.

Reader Feedback

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