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Thursday, March 31, 2011, 06:55 am PT (09:55 am ET)

Top global marketing executive to depart Apple

Apple's vice president of worldwide marketing communications — a position that reports directly to CEO Steve Jobs — is reportedly leaving the company.

Citing several sources, John Paczkowski of Digital Daily reported Thursday that Allison Johnson, who has been worldwide marketing VP at Apple since 2005, is set to depart. She apparently plans to co-found a marketing and communications firm with former Facebook public relations executive Brandee Barker.

Johnson is expected to leave Apple sometime before this summer. Both Barker and an Apple spokeswoman reportedly declined to comment.

"There's no dearth of marketing and communications talent at Apple, but Johnson's exit from the company is still notable," Paczkowski wrote.

Johnson joined Apple after managing public relations for rival computer maker Hewlett-Packard, where she handled press during the company's acquisition of Compaq. She was said to be one of the closest advisers to HP's then-CEO Carly Fiorina.

Johnson had previously worked for Apple in the '90s, and also held positions at IBM and Netscape Communications. She joined HP in 1999.

During her second stint at Apple, Johnson oversaw global advertising for "iconic ads" created by TBWAChiatDay. TBWA were the minds behind Apple's "Think Different" campaign, the silhouette iPod advertisements, and the "Get a Mac" ads featuring actors John Hodgman as a PC and Justin Long as the Mac.