Apple Names Carol Surface its First Chief People Officer

In what appears to be a leadership shakeup at the company, Apple has brought on Carol Surface as its first Chief People Officer.

Surface joins Apple following a decade-long tenure at medical device company Medtronic. As reported by Bloomberg, Surface is given the Chief People Officer role, an integral position in Apple’s human resources division. The announcement is said to have been made during an internal memo. As revealed in the memo, Surface will join Apple in March. Starting next month, the company’s first Chief People Officer will report directly to CEO Tim Cook.

What’s most surprising is how this new position affects current leadership. Deirdre O’Brien is Apple’s long-standing senior vice president of Retail + People. O’Brien has held this position since 2017 and was integral to the company’s human resources throughout the pandemic. In 2019, Apple added the retail component. Via the report, the HR components of O’Brien’s job will be removed upon Surface stepping into the new position. This will, however, allow O’Brien to focus entirely on the retail side of her work.

Prior to joining Apple, Surface held the position of executive vice president of HR at Medtronic. Over the course of 10 years, Surface helped shape the company. Her professional resume also includes the same position held at Best Buy, of which she spent three and a half years. Even before that, Surface spent nearly a decade managing human resources at PepsiCo.

How Surface will impact the human resources division at Apple remains to be seen. However, it will be interesting to analyze how this leadership shift can benefit O’Brien and Apple’s retail component moving into the future.

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