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Apple puts former IBM exec in charge of handheld products

Apple on Tuesday confirmed the imminent departure of iPod chief Tony Fadell, saying he'll be replaced by a former IBM executive who'll oversee engineering of the company's handheld products.

"Tony Fadell, Apple’s senior vice president of the iPod Division, and his wife Danielle Lambert, vice president of Human Resources, are reducing their roles within the company as they devote more time to their young family," the company said in a statement.

Fadell will remain at Apple as an advisor to chief executive Steve Jobs, while Lambert will depart the company at the end of this year after a successor is in place.

Mark Papermaster, a former vice president at IBM with 25 years of product and technology experience, will take over for Fadell as senior vice president of Devices Hardware Engineering, reporting directly to Jobs. He'll be tasked with leading both iPod and iPhone hardware engineering teams.

"Mark is a seasoned leader and is going to be an excellent addition to our senior management team," Jobs said. "Tony and Dani have each made important contributions to Apple over the past eight years. We’re sorry to see Dani go, and are looking forward to working with Tony in his new capacity."

Papermaster has a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Texas, and Masters of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Vermont in 1988. He is also active with the University of Texas where he is a member of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Advisory Council.

During his tenure at IBM, Papermaster was largely regarded as the company's top expert in Power architecture and technology. He's expected to employ his vast knowledge of chip architectures while working with personnel and assets Apple acquired in its recent purchase of fabless chip designer PA Semi, which is expected to be integral in the development of future iPhone and iPod SoCs.

Last month, IBM filed a lawsuit in an attempt to block Papermaster's move to Apple, citing ongoing competition between the two companies.