Apple promotes Deirdre O’Brien to new VP of People role over HR and Apple University


Apple has created a new vice president of People position which will be held by Deirdre O’Brien starting this fall. Today’s announcement marks the second newly created position at Apple this week following Isabel Ge Mahe’s move to vice president and managing director of Greater China on Tuesday.

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According to the announcement, O’Brien will be in charge of HR tasks including “talent development, recruiting, benefits, compensation and business support” while also “overseeing Apple University.” O’Brien will report directly to CEO Tim Cook in her new position as VP of People; she currently holds the job of vice president of Worldwide Sales and Operations.

Back in May, 9to5Mac reported that Apple’s former head of HR Denise Young Smith was moving to another newly created position called vice president of Inclusion and Diversity. O’Brien appears to be Young Smith’s successor with CFO Luca Maestri temporarily taking over the job since between May and the fall.

With O’Brien leaving her role as vice president of Worldwide Sales and Operations, it’s unclear who will take over that position. We’ve reached out to Apple for comment and will update when we learn more.

Joel Podolny who currently serves as vice president dean of Apple University will not change titles, we’ve learned.

Official press release below:

Cupertino, California — Apple today announced that Deirdre O’Brien, vice president of Worldwide Sales and Operations, has been named vice president of People, reporting to CEO Tim Cook. A nearly 30-year Apple veteran, Deirdre will lead all HR functions including talent development, recruiting, benefits, compensation and business support, as well as overseeing Apple University.
“As long as I’ve been at Apple, Deirdre has been the glue that bonds our operations, sales, marketing and finance teams to deliver products to our customers,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Deirdre deeply understands Apple’s unique culture and that people join Apple to do the best work of their lives. She is a superb leader and I’m thrilled she will be bringing her experience and talent to this critical role.”
Deirdre joined Apple in 1988 and today runs a global organization dedicated to delivering the world’s best products to customers everywhere. Her role has required exceptional collaboration and leadership across many different parts of the company, and her team’s work has enabled Apple to simultaneously scale rapidly and provide an unmatched customer experience. Deirdre has played a key role in every Apple hardware product launch over the past 20 years.
“I love Apple and, like so many of my colleagues, I’m honored to have made it my life’s work,” said Deirdre. “I’m excited to begin this new chapter, supporting 120,000 incredibly talented people around the world who are motivated to do amazing things every day. It is a privilege to work among such a diverse and talented team, and to help them thrive here at Apple.”
Deirdre earned a bachelor’s degree in Operations Management from Michigan State University and an MBA from San Jose State University. She will assume her new role this fall.

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