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Feature Wednesday, August 29, 2012, 09:04 am PT (12:04 pm ET)

How Craig Federighi & Dan Riccio were selected to leadership roles at Apple


Apple's hardware executive churn

In 1997, Jobs had recruited former NeXT alumni Jon Rubinstein to serve as Apple's senior vice president of hardware engineering. After Rubinstein was approached by Philips Electronics' Tony Fadell with the idea of building a hard drive-based MP3 player linked to a music store, Rubinstein hired Fadell and the duo helped Apple turn the concept into a bigger business than the Mac itself.

After being tasked in 2001 with building an "iPod & Special Projects" group to manage Apple's new foray into non-Mac hardware including the iPod and iSight camera, Fadell was promoted to vice president of iPod engineering in 2004 when the iPod group became its own division within Apple.



Rubinstein led the iPod division as its senior vice president, while Mansfield became the senior vice president of Mac hardware engineering.

In 2006, Rubinstein retired from Apple; one year later he joined Palm, where he worked to turn that company around after Apple's then-new iPhone literally destroyed its Treo phone business.

Fadell replaced Rubinstein as senior vice president of the iPod division, but stepped down in late 2008 to focus on his young family. Apple had launched a search to replace Fadell in 2007, resulting in the recruitment of Mark Papermaster from IBM in 2008, despite concerns voiced by Mansfield about his suitability in the role, which expanded to also include the new iPhone.

After a protracted legal skirmish with IBM related to concerns that Papermaster had violated a non-competition agreement to join Apple (which had just acquired PA Semi, stoking worries within IBM that Papermaster would help Apple rival its chip business rather than manage iOS hardware development), Apple announced in August 2010 that Papermaster had been let go, reportedly due "cultural incompatibility" and a loss of Jobs' confidence.

Riccio takes over Apple's hardware engineering

At the time, Mansfield took over Papermaster's responsibilities in running iPod and iPhone hardware engineering in addition to his own Mac engineering tasks; earlier that same year Riccio had been named vice president of Apple's new iPad hardware engineering group.

Dan Riccio

Apple Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering Dan Riccio. | Source: Apple


In June of this year, Apple announced Mansfield would retire, and be replaced by Riccio in a transition expected to take "several months."

Cook described Riccio at the time as being "one of Bob’s key lieutenants for a very long time and is very well respected within Apple and by the industry."

Apple also cited Riccio as having "been a key contributor to most of Apple’s hardware over his career," and in particular "instrumental in all of Apple’s iPad products since the first generation iPad."



Riccio appeared in a 2008 video (above) promoting Apple's then-new Unibody MacBook manufacturing process, alongside Mansfield and Jonathan Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of Industrial Design.

Riccio is now tasked with leading hardware development across Apple's entire Mac, iPod, iPhone and iPad product lines. To help in this, Apple has asked Mansfield to continue past his planned retirement date, and Cook has stated that Mansfield will "continue to work on new products."