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Friday, April 11, 2014, 04:51 pm PT (07:51 pm ET)

Apple hires CEO of brand consultant Wolff Olins in marketing push

It was reported on Friday that Wolff Olins Global CEO Karl Heiselman has been hired away by Apple and will start working in a new marketing communications position at the Cupertino, Calif. company in May.



Heiselman, who previously worked for Apple as a contract designer in the 1990s before Steve Jobs' return, told Ad Age he is leaving Wolff Olins after 14 years for "an exciting new role" at Apple. Half of his tenure at the branding agency was spent as CEO.

In a 2009 interview with The Guardian, Heiselman said Apple at times felt "a little too cool for its own good. I think it might be in danger of becoming too cool, maybe not too cool, but too slick."

News of the hire comes a few days after Apple v. Samsung court documents revealed mounting tension between Apple SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller and the company's go-to ad agency TBWA/Media Arts Lab. At the time, Schiller was concerned that Samsung's marketing blitz was causing damage to Apple's image.

Those worries may have been an impetus for change, as a report from September said Apple was planning to expand in-house marketing operations from the current 300 staffers to 500 or 600 people. To that end, Apple has made a few key hires in the advertising and marketing department, including former New York Times Magazine's design director Arem Duplessis in December.

It is unknown what responsibilities Heiselman will be given within Apple's marketing machine, but his experience in branding will likely be put to good use as some say Apple is going through a transitionary period as the company looks to define itself after the death of visionary cofounder Jobs.