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Longtime Apple PR head Katie Cotton officially retires

post #1 of 140
Thread Starter 
Friday marks the last day of work for Apple's longtime PR chief Katie Cotton. After spending 18 years in Cupertino, much of it as a handler for late cofounder Steve Jobs, the company's vice president of worldwide corporate communications will step down to spend more time with her family.


Katie Cotton speaks with Steve Jobs, Phil Schiller and Jony Ive. Photo via Inc..


In an essay covering Cotton's career at Apple, Re/code's Kara Swisher revealed that the PR guru will be heading for the door after the workday is over. Cotton's retirement was announced earlier in May, though at the time a definitive exit date had not been set.

Cotton was a polarizing figure for the media due to her aggressive protection of Apple and tight control over what information. Some had taken to calling her derogatory names, though Swisher notes PR heads at most other big-name tech firms are cut from the same cloth.

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 the 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.

Apple spokesman Steve Dowling, who announced Cotton's departure, is thought to be in the running to replace the PR chief. Another candidate is Natalie Kerris. Both Dowling and Kerris have been with Apple for over ten years.

Cotton said the decision to leave was "hard," saying Apple was "a part of (her) heart," but in the end she chose to spend more time with her children.
post #2 of 140
Who proof-reads these articles?
post #3 of 140
Good riddance, part of the Steve Jobs era that really deserves to be shown the door and handed her hat.

She has been an unabashed, unapologetic and crushingly unconvincing liar on behalf of the company (primarily for Steve).

She fulfilled an important role in the company at the time, although she largely fell silent about a year before Steve's passing, probably because no one sane would believe what she uttered, like the "Steve is out with a virus" B.S. which because increasingly shrill and ludicrous.

But hey, high tech public relations is one of the most soulless careers on the planet, it's rather surprising that anyone can survive nearly two decades in such a soul-sucking role. Hopefully there's something still left in her heart.

I sincerely wish her the best of luck on her future endeavors. For everyone's sake, let's hope it has nothing to do with public relations.
Edited by mpantone - 5/30/14 at 5:43pm
post #4 of 140

This thread will be worth a return visit just for the responses.

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post #5 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpantone View Post

Good riddance, part of the Steve Jobs era that really deserves to be shown the door and handed her hat.

She has been an unabashed, unapologetic and crushingly unconvincing liar on behalf of the company (primarily for Steve).

She fulfilled an important role in the company at the time, although she largely fell silent about a year before Steve's passing, probably because no one sane would believe what she uttered (like the "Steve is out with a virus" B.S.).

But hey, high tech corporate P.R. is one of the most soulless careers on the planet, it's rather surprising that anyone can survive nearly two decades in such a role.

Best of luck to her on her future endeavors.

Personally & financially I'm very thankful for the Steve years myself! PR is PR, its part of the game, pre-dating capitalism probably

post #6 of 140
dr-dre-2011-2-8-14-50-8.jpg
post #7 of 140

I'm wondering how many of these long timers that are retiring are related to the Beats buyout or their confidence in Cook. It would be an interesting read to have interviews with all of these people retiring would actually speak candidly as to why they are retiring, when they certainly are still young enough to continue working.

post #8 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpantone View Post

Good riddance, part of the Steve Jobs era that really deserves to be shown the door and handed her hat.

She has been an unabashed, unapologetic and crushingly unconvincing liar on behalf of the company (primarily for Steve).

She fulfilled an important role in the company at the time, although she largely fell silent about a year before Steve's passing, probably because no one sane would believe what she uttered, like the "Steve is out with a virus" B.S. which because increasingly shrill and ludicrous.

But hey, high tech public relations is one of the most soulless careers on the planet, it's rather surprising that anyone can survive nearly two decades in such a soul-sucking role. Hopefully there's something still left in her heart.

I sincerely wish her the best of luck on her future endeavors. For everyone's sake, let's hope it has nothing to do with public relations.

In other words, she was doing her job. Go away now.
post #9 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post

I'm wondering how many of these long timers that are retiring are related to the Beats buyout or their confidence in Cook. It would be an interesting read to have interviews with all of these people retiring would actually speak candidly as to why they are retiring, when they certainly are still young enough to continue working.
Maybe because working at Apple is not easy and some of them are just plain tired? Both Katie Cotton and Greg Christie worked at Apple for a long time.
post #10 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post


In other words, she was doing her job. Go away now.

 

I'm not siding with the guy you're quoting, but even if it is her job to lie, presumably it's to do so convincingly, not unconvincingly. 

 

Jobs may well not have let the management circle know the full extent of his health problems.

post #11 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpantone View Post

Good riddance, part of the Steve Jobs era that really deserves to be shown the door and handed her hat.

She has been an unabashed, unapologetic and crushingly unconvincing liar on behalf of the company (primarily for Steve).

She fulfilled an important role in the company at the time, although she largely fell silent about a year before Steve's passing, probably because no one sane would believe what she uttered, like the "Steve is out with a virus" B.S. which because increasingly shrill and ludicrous.

But hey, high tech public relations is one of the most soulless careers on the planet, it's rather surprising that anyone can survive nearly two decades in such a soul-sucking role. Hopefully there's something still left in her heart.

I sincerely wish her the best of luck on her future endeavors. For everyone's sake, let's hope it has nothing to do with public relations.

Well, if she told the media "Steve is out with a virus", she might have consulted with their attorneys or Steve (himself) to say that. We don't know what goes on behind closed doors.  I've been in situations where I knew the truth about something, and PR spun it differently but I wasn't allowed to speak publicly because it wasn't my job.  All kinds of things go on behind the scenes.  I believe only about 50% of what Corporate people say these days.  It's what they don't say that they elude in their own unique way is what is hard to figure out.

Name someone in PR that's honest.   You are speaking of a position within a company that is SUPPOSED to lie for the company.  That's their job. Same thing with CEO's of publicly traded companies, Head Counsel, etc. It's what they are TOLD to do and largely from lawyers.  If they told the truth, the lawsuits would fly and the stock would drop.   That's the job of PR.  So anyone ACTING on behalf of the company is acting the capacity of a PR campaign..   Hence CueBall, Iovine, and Cook on their campaign to spin the Beats buyout.  They spin it the way they want to spin it.  That's PR.

post #12 of 140
I feel that Apple's PR has been lacking in the last few years.

Many of these folks -- e.g., Oppenheimer, now Cotton -- started with a much smaller company, and suddenly found themselves at the helm of a half-trillion dollar behemoth, trying to do the same job they were doing in the past.

Apple simply outgrew their competencies.
Edited by anantksundaram - 5/30/14 at 6:15pm
post #13 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post

I'm wondering how many of these long timers that are retiring are related to the Beats buyout or their confidence in Cook. It would be an interesting read to have interviews with all of these people retiring would actually speak candidly as to why they are retiring, when they certainly are still young enough to continue working.

Zero
post #14 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

In other words, she was doing her job. Go away now.

No, because she was clearly lying and basically clammed up the last year of Steve's life, probably because everything she uttered was insanely unbelievable.

 

Her aggressiveness was not the optimal way to address Steve's absence, she basically dissolved the Apple PR department's credibility. At least one image of a very frail Steve (with an IV drip) appeared in the media. It apparently was a real photo.

 

She could have said "Apple does not comment on the medical condition of its executives" rather than the "Steve has a virus" B.S.

 

Dowling has been the corporate spokesperson since Steve's passing. I don't think her name has been on press releases for years, let alone any sort of quotes in the media.

 

Note that Apple's stock did not completely tank when Steve passed away. The market (fund managers, etc.) already knew what was going on.

 

She did a job, but it was not the best. Again, I will point out that she has been almost completely mute since Steve's passing, nearly THREE YEARS AGO. That is a long damned time to be the head of a Fortune 500 company's PR department without making an utterance.

 

Anyhow, she gets to live with her life choices. I will reiterate that I sincerely wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors.

 

I'm also impressed to see how many AI readers are Katie Cotton fans. Your prayers to her will be most welcome.

 

Disclaimer: I am an AAPL shareholder.


Edited by mpantone - 5/30/14 at 6:15pm
post #15 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post


Name someone in PR that's honest. 

The issue is not honesty.

 

It's competence.

post #16 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

I feel that Apple's PR has been lacking in the last few years.

Many of these folks -- e.g., Oppenheimer, now Cotton -- started with a much smaller company, and suddenly found themselves at the helm of a half-trillion dollar behemoth, trying to do the same job they were doing in the past.

Apple simply outgrew their competences.

Maybe based the decisions of the CEO. He's out of his element as a CEO, he was better just dealing with internal operations, which is what he was good at, but as CEO, he's not always made great decisions. I don't she wants to do anything with Dre and is probably disgusted with what his music represents. I know others at Apple that aren't thrilled with Dre bring part of Apple. I wonder who they are going to get to replace her.
post #17 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

Zero
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

Zero

How can you be so sure on that? You own mentality? I think it's awfully coincidental since it's all happening within a month of the buyout when the company is in the midst of some "revolutionary" products. What has she done recently that so bad that she feels like retiring? PR isn't always direly responsible for what they tell the public, a lot what they say is what they are told by the lawyers and they just spin it to make their lawyers happy.
post #18 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

The issue is not honesty.

It's competence.

She wasn't fired. If she was fired, then maybe I would believe your statement, but she is retiring.
post #19 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post

She wasn't fired. If she was fired, then maybe I would believe your statement, but she is retiring.

LOL. My assessment is far more plausible than your ridiculous, ludicrous conspiracy-theory-laden nonsense about her exit having something to do with the Beats acquisition. :lol:

post #20 of 140
U must not have much experience with the PR business.
post #21 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

LOL. My assessment is far more plausible than your ridiculous, ludicrous conspiracy-theory-laden nonsense about her exit having something to do with the Beats acquisition. lol.gif

People are so incredibly brave on the internet.
post #22 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post

Maybe based the decisions of the CEO. He's out of his element as a CEO, he was better just dealing with internal operations, which is what he was good at, but as CEO, he's not always made great decisions. I don't she wants to do anything with Dre and is probably disgusted with what his music represents. I know others at Apple that aren't thrilled with Dre bring part of Apple. I wonder who they are going to get to replace her.

Not everyone is a racist.
Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post


How can you be so sure on that? You own mentality? I think it's awfully coincidental since it's all happening within a month of the buyout when the company is in the midst of some "revolutionary" products. What has she done recently that so bad that she feels like retiring? PR isn't always direly responsible for what they tell the public, a lot what they say is what they are told by the lawyers and they just spin it to make their lawyers happy.

Spend more time with her kids. She's worked at Apple a long time and made lots of money.
post #23 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpantone View Post

No, because she was clearly lying and basically clammed up the last year of Steve's life, probably because everything she uttered was insanely unbelievable.

Her aggressiveness was not the optimal way to address Steve's absence, she basically dissolved the Apple PR department's credibility. At least one image of a very frail Steve (with an IV drip) appeared in the media. It apparently was a real photo.

She could have said "Apple does not comment on the medical condition of its executives" rather than the "Steve has a virus" B.S.

Dowling has been the corporate spokesperson since Steve's passing. I don't think her name has been on press releases for years, let alone any sort of quotes in the media.

Note that Apple's stock did not completely tank when Steve passed away. The market (fund managers, etc.) already knew what was going on.

She did a job, but it was not the best. Again, I will point out that she has been almost completely mute since Steve's passing, nearly THREE YEARS AGO. That is a long damned time to be the head of a Fortune 500 company's PR department without making an utterance.

Pssst. When Steve passed, he wasn't CEO of Apple. Why would the stock change much.

PR runs a lot of press relations behind the scene.
post #24 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post
 

LOL. My assessment is far more plausible than your ridiculous, ludicrous conspiracy-theory-laden nonsense about her exit having something to do with the Beats acquisition. :lol:

How many people have 'retired' within a month of the Beats buyout?

Aren't there something around 3 or so?  That's NOT normal to have that many people retire in upper management within a short period of time surrounding a buyout that doesn't replace these people.  In large buyouts there are usually fall out in certain positions of upper management, but there Beats isn't a large buyout, but a high profile buyout with a potential PR nightmare on their hands.  Obviously, you didn't watch the Dr. Dre video enough to realize that she probably doesn't want to deal with aftermath.

 

Conspiracy theory?  Well, that's not what I'm hearing from my buddies that work at Apple.  The word I'm getting from sources indicate my theory is probably more accurate than yours. 

 

HAHAHA.

post #25 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post


Not everyone is a racist.
Spend more time with her kids. She's worked at Apple a long time and made lots of money.

And Apple just bought Beats and she probably doesn't want to deal with the aftermath of it.   I wouldn't want to deal with the potential PR nightmare.  I would have left too, especially if i had her position and lots of money.

post #26 of 140
Quote:

Originally Posted by drblank View Post
 

The word I'm getting from sources indicate ....

Your sources?

 

Well, mine say that your theory is a pile of hooey.

 

HAHAHA.

post #27 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

Pssst. When Steve passed, he wasn't CEO of Apple. Why would the stock change much.

PR runs a lot of press relations behind the scene.

You don't invest much, do you?

 

Clearly, you are a card-carrying member of the Katie Cotton fan club, good for you. I hope your ROI has been acceptable to you.

post #28 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post
 

Your sources?

 

Well, mine say that your theory is a pile of hooey.

 

HAHAHA.

 

And who are yours?  I just know that the Beats buyout was not widely accepted internally by ALL Apple employees.

post #29 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post
 

 

And who are yours?  I just know that the Beats buyout was not widely accepted internally by ALL Apple employees.

 

I want names.

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post #30 of 140
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Originally Posted by mpantone View Post

You don't invest much, do you?

Clearly, you are a card-carrying member of the Katie Cotton fan club, good for you. I hope your ROI has been acceptable to you.

Considering I got my shares at 64, my ROI is fabulous.
post #31 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post


Not everyone is a racist.
Spend more time with her kids. She's worked at Apple a long time and made lots of money.

First off, not liking Dr. Dre is not being racist.  Jeez. Grow up!

 

Spend time with her kids?  That's the superficial PR version.  They never tell the REAL reasons unless it's illness related which in Steve's case it was, but in her case it's more related to the PR nightmare.  Remember, Dr. Dre is one of these celebrities that is followed a lot by people like TMZ and TMZ causes other potential problems with what they uncover and that's the problem with bringing in certain celebrities into a company like Apple.  Now if Apple brought in some one like Herbie Hancock, that wouldn't be an issue.  He's intelligent, well mannered, speaks with great articulation and is well respected classically trained jazz musician.  Dr. Dre represents the complete opposite. And who is on the celebrity watch list for screwing up?   Someone like Dr. Dre or someone like Herbie Hancock?   You won't find Herbie Hancock getting drunk with his friends that call each other the N word and posting it on YouTube, but Dr. Dre has already done that.   Seriously,  she doesn't want to deal with the potential PR nightmare of Dr. Dre..  It's REAL obvious.  

post #32 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post

And who are yours?  I just know that the Beats buyout was not widely accepted internally by ALL Apple employees.

Oh my God, < 100%?!!! Raising the min wage is also not acceptable to ALL Americans or Apple employees.
post #33 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

Considering I got my shares at 64, my ROI is fabulous.

Good for you, we are in similar situations although I refuse to divulge my exact average share purchase price, we are pretty close (your purported entry price is lower than mine). Admittedly, most of mine are in a Roth IRA, my capital gains tax liability pressure will be low.

 

I'm still surprised how gung ho you are about Katie Cotton. 

 

I am happy she is gone, you apparently aren't. Will you be selling soon?

post #34 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post

I'm wondering how many of these long timers that are retiring are related to the Beats buyout or their confidence in Cook. It would be an interesting read to have interviews with all of these people retiring would actually speak candidly as to why they are retiring, when they certainly are still young enough to continue working.

 

You're right. Bill Gates has no excuse not to keep working because OMG, he's still young enough to. /s 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post


How can you be so sure on that? You own mentality? I think it's awfully coincidental since it's all happening within a month of the buyout when the company is in the midst of some "revolutionary" products. What has she done recently that so bad that she feels like retiring? PR isn't always direly responsible for what they tell the public, a lot what they say is what they are told by the lawyers and they just spin it to make their lawyers happy.

 

How can YOU be so sure your "correlation = causation" theory is right?

What you interpret as "awfully coincidental" is reflection of your own suspicions and biases, nothing more. It's your own mentality.

Surprise! Not everyone sees a conspiracy in every twitch.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #35 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post
 

I'm wondering how many of these long timers that are retiring are related to the Beats buyout or their confidence in Cook. It would be an interesting read to have interviews with all of these people retiring would actually speak candidly as to why they are retiring, when they certainly are still young enough to continue working.

 

Any rational person would know the answer to that: Zero. Katie's retirement was announced well before any rumors of the Beats buyout. Lack of confidence in Cook? Apple's most successful years have been under his leadership, so don't see how the hell that would be a factor? Name me a more successful company they would go work at instead? Is anyone who ever leaves Apple in the future going to be blamed on "lack of confidence in Cook" or the Beats deal? A ton of people left under Jobs too. But keep drawing connections where none exist, and insinuating nefarious reasons as to their leaving. I would love for them to be interviewed too, only to show how full of BS you are. Of but of course in that case you would accuse them of lying or "hiding the truth" anyway. 

 

These people have a shitload of money and spent a large portion of their lives at Apple in stressful and demanding positions. They're allowed to retire before they're close to death without justifying it to you. When Eddy Cue states that this year will have the best product pipeline that he's seen in his 25 years at Apple, that tells me your silly, trollish assumptions are way off base and one of the worst examples of causation by correlation that I've ever seen. 

post #36 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttollerton View Post

Who proof-reads these articles?

Proofread yourself¡ Since when is proofread a hyphenated word? ;)

 

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/proofread

Why does Apple bashing and trolling make people feel so good?

Reply

Why does Apple bashing and trolling make people feel so good?

Reply
post #37 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post


Maybe based the decisions of the CEO. He's out of his element as a CEO, he was better just dealing with internal operations, which is what he was good at, but as CEO, he's not always made great decisions. I don't she wants to do anything with Dre and is probably disgusted with what his music represents. I know others at Apple that aren't thrilled with Dre bring part of Apple. I wonder who they are going to get to replace her.

 

Holy shit. That statement represents a new standard of insanely baseless speculation, and the confidence by which you say it is simply stunning. Amazing. You're even claiming to know her music tastes and what she's disgusted by? Pretty sickening of you. But yeah, Cook is obviously completely out of his element. Under his leadership Apple has had the highest stock prices (by far) in its history, as well as revenues, profits, sales, and product quality and quantity, and with what looks to be new product categories this year. Out of his element? How can you be so confidently completely full of shit? I mean, wow. 

post #38 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post
 

 

Holy shit. That statement represents a new standard of insanely baseless speculation, and the confidence by which you say it is simply stunning. Amazing. You're even claiming to know her music tastes and what she's disgusted by? Pretty sickening of you. But yeah, Cook is obviously completely out of his element. Under his leadership Apple has had the highest stock prices (by far) in its history, as well as revenues, profits, sales, and product quality and quantity, and with what looks to be new product categories this year. Out of his element? How can you be so confidently completely full of shit? I mean, wow. 

Prove me wrong.  go get a copy of his iTunes library.

post #39 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post


Considering I got my shares at 64, my ROI is fabulous.

I picked up mine at a split-adjusted $4.35, my ROI is fabulous-er! :p :)

Why does Apple bashing and trolling make people feel so good?

Reply

Why does Apple bashing and trolling make people feel so good?

Reply
post #40 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpantone View Post

Good riddance, part of the Steve Jobs era that really deserves to be shown the door and handed her hat.

She has been an unabashed, unapologetic and crushingly unconvincing liar on behalf of the company (primarily for Steve).

She fulfilled an important role in the company at the time, although she largely fell silent about a year before Steve's passing, probably because no one sane would believe what she uttered, like the "Steve is out with a virus" B.S. which because increasingly shrill and ludicrous.

But hey, high tech public relations is one of the most soulless careers on the planet, it's rather surprising that anyone can survive nearly two decades in such a soul-sucking role. Hopefully there's something still left in her heart.

I sincerely wish her the best of luck on her future endeavors. For everyone's sake, let's hope it has nothing to do with public relations.

 

Read the god damn Re/Code article.

http://recode.net/2014/05/30/goodbye-to-all-that-today-is-katie-cottons-last-day-at-apple/

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