Reports are claiming that Scott Forstall was ‘fired’ in a deal that meant that Bob Mansfield would return to Apple.
Mansfield was Apple’s VP of Hardware Engineering before he retired at 51 earlier this year.
Mansfield, who’d been at the company for 13 years, retired in June. However, he returned in August in an advisor role.
According to AllThingsD sources, Mansfield was actually very serious about retiring but was back at Apple after just eight weeks. Apple CEO Tim Cook is said to have made him an “offer he couldn’t refuse” which included a massive cash and stock pay package said to be worth $2 million a month.
Now, following the ousting of Forstall, Cook has announced that Mansfield will be staying at Apple for two more years. Mansfield now has the new position of senior vice president of Technologies. This news is apparently “not coincidental”, according to AllThingsD sources.
Reports claim Mansfield didn’t like Forstall’s confrontational management style. A Bloomberg report claims Mansfield would meet with Forstall only if Cook were there to mediate.
“It wasn’t a him-or-me situation,” one source claimed, but Mansfield was, “much more willing to commit to two more years once he knew Scott was on his way out.”
There is no doubt that Forstall was not popular at Apple. In a tidbit, Bloomberg claims that former iPod VP Jon Rubinstein was chatting happily at a party in Silicon Valley last month, until Forstall’s name came up: “Then he turned away abruptly. ‘Goodbye!’ he said.”
But what was it that people disliked about the Apple executive? If you read between the lines in the reports the theme seems to be that Forstall was rather too like Steve Jobs in his attitudes towards people management.
The Bloomberg report examines what might have happened at Apple, following the death of co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs. It suggests that without Steve Jobs as its “Decider-in-Chief”, the “controversial and ambitious” Forstall may have been trying to assume Jobs’ ‘decider’ role at Apple. “Forstall is a mini-Steve”, states the Bloomberg report.
Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, senior associate dean of the Yale University School of Management, suggests that Forstall became “resented for being presumptuous, [of trying to] assume Steve Jobs’s legacy.”
Sonnenfeld suggests: “But if they treat it as a shared legacy, there is a way to keep that spirit alive.”
The report suggests that, looking forward, Cook must take a more assertive role guiding the company. Also worth keeping in mind, Cook will have to work hard to ensure there isn’t an exodus of those in the company’s top ranks, as Bloomberg points out: “All of whom are extravagantly wealthy.”
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