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Apple in senior executive shake-up

Jeff Williams promoted to role of COO, Johny Srouji to head up hardware technologies

Williams introduced the ResearchKit SDK at Apple's Spring Forward event
Williams introduced the ResearchKit SDK at Apple's Spring Forward event

Apple shook up its senior executive team over the weekend, with the headline appointment being a promotion of senior VP of operations Jeff Williams to the role of COO.

Williams, less of a public figure than many of Apple's other executives, was first seen on stage at Cupertino's Spring Forward event earlier this year. He introduced the company's new ResearchKit SDK, leading many to question whether his role will be expanded in the future.

Now that he has been promoted to the role of COO (CEO Tim Cook's previous position), analysts believe Williams is being groomed as Cook's number-two man. The industry consensus appears to be that, should anything happen to Cook as leader of the company, Williams will be next in line for the top job.

Meanwhile, Apple also announced the promotion of Johny Srouji, who will join the company's executive team as senior vice president for Hardware Technologies. Srouji will essentially be succeeding long-time Apple executive Bob Mansfield, who was taken off Apple's executive page in 2013 in what appeared to be Mansfield's first move towards retirement.

"We are fortunate to have incredible depth and breadth of talent across Apple's executive team. As we come to the end of the year, we're recognising the contributions already being made by two key executives," said Cook in a statement.

"Jeff is hands-down the best operations executive I've ever worked with, and Johny's team delivers world-class silicon designs which enable new innovations in our products year after year."

In other executive shake-ups, Apple has made large changes to its marketing operations. Phil Schiller senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, retains his title, but his remit will also officially include responsibility for the App Store now. On top of this, however, Apple has brought in a new executive from outside the company, Toy Myhren, who will become vice president of Marketing Communications, reporting directly to Cook.

That Myhren will be reporting to Cook, rather than Schiller, suggests that Apple is taking a different approach with its external marketing communications. The company rarely brings outsiders into its executive team, but has struggled to keep up the same level of marketing prowess since the death of its co-founder, Steve Jobs. Analysts believe that Myhren's appointment is an attempt to shake up the company's external marketing efforts and to bring back some of the company's previous marketing mettle.