Tim Cook overseeing search for new Apple PR chief, seeking 'high-profile external candidates'

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In its search to replace recently departed public relations chief Katie Cotton, Apple is said to be strongly considering "high profile" candidates from outside the company, with Chief Executive Tim Cook reportedly personally involved in the search.

Citing sources with knowledge of Apple's PR plans, John Paczkowski of Re/code reported on Monday that Cook is apparently looking to "put a friendlier, more approachable face on Apple's public relations efforts." Under his predecessor, Steve Jobs, Apple built a reputation for being silent and non-responsive with members of the press.

The position, officially titled vice president of corporate communications, reports directly to Cook. And although a number of company veterans could take the role, it's been said that Cook would prefer to hire a big name from outside of Apple's established PR machine.

Given the situation, Paczkowski openly questioned whether Apple public relations veterans like Steve Dowling and Nat Kerris would stick around if a newcomer were to come in and take over the company's public relations department. No potential names for the new position were given, however.

The departure of Cotton was announced in early May. Cotton retired from Apple after an 18-year tenure with the company.

As one of the most powerful executives at Apple, Cotton kept somewhat of a low profile. Her behind-the-scenes influence was unquestionable, however, as seen by her handling of Jobs' long-term illness and other controversies like Apple's stock backdating scandal.

Her operating style of being tight-lipped and selective in what statements were issued proved impressively effective, with journalists clamoring to get any scrap of information from Apple as other companies pushed regular press releases. Cotton created a demand for Apple news and tantalized reporters with very little supply.


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