Home / Companies / Apple names Apple Watch project head Jeff Williams as COO

Bengaluru/San Francisco: Apple Inc. said it promoted Apple Watch project head Jeff Williams to the role of chief operating officer, filling a position that had been vacant since Tim Cook took over as chief executive in 2011.

Williams, who until recently was senior vice president of operations, joined Apple in 1998. In charge of the iPhone maker’s supply chain, and service and support operations, he also looked after the company’s social responsibility initiatives.

“Jeff is hands-down the best operations executive I’ve ever worked with," Cook said in a statement.

Williams’ new job makes him the second-most powerful Apple executive, and one of the company’s elite C-level executives, which includes chief design officer Jony Ive.

While it was unclear if the appointment meant Apple was grooming Williams to be Cook’s successor, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a source, that the move wasn’t necessarily a sign that Williams was Cook’s heir apparent.

William’s new title formalized a role that he had already been playing, the WSJ said, citing a senior Apple executive who declined to be identified.

“Williams is extremely well respected within Cupertino and knows Apple’s inner workings as well as anyone out there," FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives said.

Apple also said on Thursday it would expand the responsibilities of global marketing chief Phil Schiller to include leading the Apple App Store.

“Schiller is the perfect pick for the App Store given his background, and (is) very important as Apple goes into its next phase of growth with the App Store front and center," Ives said.

Among other appointments, Tor Myhren, chief creative officer of advertising agency Grey New York-part of advertising giant WPP Plc-will join Apple as vice president of marketing communications in the first quarter of 2016.

Apple shares were down 1.3% at $109.93 in midday trading. Reuters

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