Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has seen a number of major executives depart the company in 2019. This trend shows no sign of slowing down as the tech giant just saw another key leader quit the company. On Wednesday, Apple announced that its VP and head of communications, Steve Dowling, will be leaving the company.
Having joined Apple back in 2003 before taking up a leadership position at the head of the company’s communications efforts in 2014, Dowling’s responsibilities included internal and external messaging, as well as making sure Apple’s future product plans were kept a secret and other branding responsibilities. Now that he is stepping down, Apple’s marketing head Phil Schiller will fill in for his role.
In a statement, Dowling said that he was leaving for personal reasons and to spend more time with his family, while Apple commented that “he leaves behind a tremendous legacy that will serve the company well into the future.” It’s uncertain how long it will take to find a replacement.
For a company like Apple, this ongoing trend of senior executive departures is a big deal. Earlier this year, design chief Jony Ive announced that he would be leaving the company, a move that came only a couple of months after the departure of Apple’s retail chief Angela Ahrendts.
Even on the board of directors there have been major departures. Earlier in September, Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger resigned from his position on Apple’s board after serving for seven years, although this understandably is due to the fact that the two companies will be launching competing video-streaming services in the future.
All this is taking place as Apple strives to make a transition of sorts. iPhone sales have stalled over the past couple of years while other devices haven’t been selling that well either. Instead, the company is trying to shift more into the services and entertainment market as opposed to a seller of electronic devices. It’s uncertain how successful Apple will be with this shift and it’s facing plenty of competition from other companies trying to move in with their own entertainment platforms and services.
Apple didn’t move much in response to this news. Despite this string of departures, shares of the tech giant have done well, gaining 41.4% since the beginning of the year in what’s been an impressive surge for a company with a $1 trillion market cap.