Bob Mansfield, Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) senior vice president of technologies, has been transferred from the company’s executive team to work on special projects, and he will report to CEO Tim Cook, according to media reports.
Rumors about Mansfield’s move away from Apple’s leadership team began late on Sunday, when his biography, which is still visible on Google’s cache, disappeared from the company’s website without explanation.
“Bob is no longer going to be on Apple’s executive team, but will remain at Apple working on special projects reporting to [CEO] Tim [Cook],” Steve Dowling, an Apple spokesperson, told AllThingsD, without providing any further explanation for the shift.
iDownloadBlog reported that Mansfield is believed to be developing an interest in wearable technology, which is linked to Apple’s rumored iWatch project. The report pointed to another post from 9to5Mac, which named Mansfield as a key member of the team that Apple has likely begun assembling for its closely-guarded smart watch project.
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Mansfield’s bio is currently not available anywhere on Apple's website, a curious move from the company, which did not announce a leadership change beforehand. The removal is also being viewed as an interesting development given the executive's recent history with the company.
After taking on hardware-engineering positions at Apple over the past decade, such as the development of Mac personal computers based on Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) chips and the company’s flagship iPad, Mansfield announced his retirement in June 2012.
However, Apple brought back Mansfield in August 2012, as engineers who were working under Mansfield’s replacement, Dan Riccio, reportedly complained to Cook that the new executive was not prepared for the role.
According to media reports at the time, Cook offered Mansfield a higher salary of $85.5 million, which made him the second-highest-paid executive at any Standard & Poor’s 500 company in 2012. And, in October, Mansfield was appointed as the leader of a new group called “Technologies,” after Apple fired longtime iOS chief Scott Forstall.
“Bob is the anchor of Apple’s hardware organization,” Bloomberg quoted Bob Borchers, a former Apple manager, as saying. “That’s why it was so important to bring him back.”