Three Apple PR specialists leave company for new jobs at Ford, Tesla

Posted:
in General Discussion edited November 2016
Amid rumors that Apple is reining in an ambitious automotive project from a full-fledged car to supporting software and hardware systems, three public relations team members, including a director of corporate communications, have left the company for carmakers Ford and Tesla.




As noted by The Verge on Friday, former PR specialist Sarah O'Brien was first to leave Apple in September for a job at Tesla.

O'Brien started at Apple in 2008, handling music for the Europe, Middle East, India and Africa region before moving to iPhone relations in 2012. She most recently concentrated on Apple Watch just prior to taking the position of senior director of communications at Tesla.

Ford will also benefit from an infusion of Apple talent. Former Apple senior director of corporate communications Colin Smith, who led PR initiatives involving Mac hardware, macOS, Swift, iWork and pro apps, in November started a new gig as head of communications at Ford's Silicon Valley outpost.

According to The Verge, Smith's role at Ford will involve both communications and business development. He worked at Apple for seven years prior to this month's departure.

Finally, former Apple global PR staff member Michaela Johndrow is leaving the company after a five-year stint to handle communications related to electric vehicles at Ford's head office in Michigan.

The PR departures come on the heels of reports claiming Apple is rethinking plans to enter the automotive industry.

Rumors of Apple's secret initiative to field a self-driving electric car surfaced last year under the codename "Project Titan." AppleInsider later uncovered evidence that an automotive research and development program was underway at a secret facility in Sunnyvale, Calif.

Subsequent reports claimed "Apple Car" would be ready to ship by 2020, but that launch date was ultimately proven overly optimistic when the project ran into roadblocks late last year. In January, it was reported that former project lead Steve Zadesky left the company, prompting Apple to bring product engineering guru Bob Mansfield out of pseudo-retirement to head up operations.

Most recently, Apple fired dozens of employees as Project Titan pivots away from a full-fledged self-driving car toward the development of underlying technology.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    And by Tuesday after the election, there's a growing likelihood the stock will get hammered into the sub-$100 range again... Folks, prepare to buy, buy, buy (and not just AAPL, by the way).
    edited November 2016 monstrosity
  • Reply 2 of 20
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,525member
    Spam: Which candidate's election would cause that to happen, and why?  Use aynrandian analysis.
    edited November 2016 quadra 610
  • Reply 3 of 20
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    Story about a rumor about a rumor by a rumor of a rumor
    nolamacguyuraharadysamoriajay-tmike1
  • Reply 4 of 20
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 2,211member
    I hope that stupid car project is killed. Waste of resources in a company that knows nothing about automotive design/engineering, who should be putting resources into making professional computers and finding a new lead designer that isn't pathologically obsessed with irrational notions...
    80s_Apple_Guyduervoperkedel
  • Reply 5 of 20
    Apple is spinning its wheels, and they're not attached to an Apple Car.
    duervopalomine
  • Reply 6 of 20
    g-newsg-news Posts: 1,107member
    As a PR specialist myself, I can't blame them for leaving.
    duervo
  • Reply 7 of 20
    g-news said:
    As a PR specialist myself, I can't blame them for leaving.
    Agreed. After things like saying in the iPhone 7 keynote that headphone jack removal was the future, and then about 2 months later releasing MacBook Pro's that still had it in them ... kinda hard to look good when trying to explain that.

    People can justify that particular item anyway they like to coincide with their views, but can't much argue the fact that it sends a contradictory signal to the general public.
    edited November 2016 SpamSandwichperkedel
  • Reply 8 of 20
    dysamoria said:
    I hope that stupid car project is killed. Waste of resources in a company that knows nothing about automotive design/engineering, who should be putting resources into making professional computers and finding a new lead designer that isn't pathologically obsessed with irrational notions...
    Agreed, Apple needs new blood, but one can argue that Tessa didn't know much about cars either. Apple may have underestimated building a manufacturing facility, and Tesla probably didn't want to sell.
    perkedel
  • Reply 9 of 20
    I've said this before, it seems that only billionaire Silicon Valley guys think a self driving car is cool or that it solves a problem. Having said that perhaps Apple's effort in this car fantasy harvested something that could be applied to their other products (existing or yet to come). 
    duervo
  • Reply 10 of 20
    indyfxindyfx Posts: 319member
    Oh my... How will they ever do R&D without PR specialists! Puh-lease, not that I'm convinced apple is planning on building a car, but this indicates nothing.
    monstrositymike1palomine
  • Reply 11 of 20
    What a bunch of myopic posts. If you can't see the future of self driving vehicles, you really must be brain dead.
    davenjohnny mozzarellapalomine
  • Reply 12 of 20
    dysamoria said:
    I hope that stupid car project is killed. Waste of resources in a company that knows nothing about automotive design/engineering, who should be putting resources into making professional computers and finding a new lead designer that isn't pathologically obsessed with irrational notions...
    so rather than focus on growth markets and new business lines, apple should focus on a stagnating industry of plateauing sales? yeah that makes sense. not. 

    i dont know what your day job is, but i know it's not running the biggest and most successful publicly traded company in history (or likely any company) -- so please, don't quit it. 
    badmonkmike1
  • Reply 13 of 20

    duervo said:
    g-news said:
    As a PR specialist myself, I can't blame them for leaving.
    Agreed. After things like saying in the iPhone 7 keynote that headphone jack removal was the future, and then about 2 months later releasing MacBook Pro's that still had it in them ... kinda hard to look good when trying to explain that.

    People can justify that particular item anyway they like to coincide with their views, but can't much argue the fact that it sends a contradictory signal to the general public.
    nonsense. they're are two very different tools, form factors, and use cases, with likewise different constraints and compromises. 

    trust me when i say -- designing things isn't a job for you.
    edited November 2016 davenbadmonk
  • Reply 14 of 20
    duervo said:

    Agreed. After things like saying in the iPhone 7 keynote that headphone jack removal was the future, and then about 2 months later releasing MacBook Pro's that still had it in them ... kinda hard to look good when trying to explain that.

    People can justify that particular item anyway they like to coincide with their views, but can't much argue the fact that it sends a contradictory signal to the general public.

    It's not just Apple. Kenmore is doing the same kind of thing. My new fridge came with an ice maker, but they claim the washing machine doesn't need one. What kind of message are they trying to send to buyers?

    I'm NOT defending Apple here, partly because I have plenty of complaints about Apple myself so I don't begrudge anyone else theirs, but also partly because I don't see what there is to defend here. They're two completely different products for completely different uses and form factors. I think Apple's decision to remove the headphone jack from the iPhone was a mistake, but don't see how the existence of such a jack on the Mac is relevant to that issue. 
    nolamacguymike1
  • Reply 15 of 20
    What a bunch of myopic posts. If you can't see the future of self driving vehicles, you really must be brain dead.
    Yep. Self-driving vehicles will eventually be a requirement by the Federal government on all highways, not optional, once they're proven to cause fewer deaths than people driving vehicles. According to Elon Musk that should be in a matter of perhaps 3-5 years (someone correct me if I have those numbers wrong). Off of the Federal highway system, presumably the laws of each state regarding such use would be subject to state regulations. The Federal government only has jurisdiction on the highways.
    edited November 2016 palomine
  • Reply 16 of 20
    larryalarrya Posts: 548member
    What a bunch of myopic posts. If you can't see the future of self driving vehicles, you really must be brain dead.
    Yep. Self-driving vehicles will eventually be a requirement by the Federal government on all highways, not optional, once they're proven to cause fewer deaths than people driving vehicles. According to Elon Musk that should be in a matter of perhaps 3-5 years (someone correct me if I have those numbers wrong). Off of the Federal highway system, presumably the laws of each state regarding such use would be subject to state regulations. The Federal government only has jurisdiction on the highways.
    Yeah, no. We couldn't even outlaw incandescent bulbs before the conspiracy theorists put an end to that. 
  • Reply 17 of 20
    19831983 Posts: 1,183member
    I'm constantly reading this 'underlying technology' mantra. I don't know why Apple bothers, the underlying tech for autonomous driving is now far advanced by the likes of Tesla, Google and many others and is almost ready for the big time. I don't see Apple being able to compete this late in the game. Maybe what they are doing, if anything is next-gen CarPlay tech...what ever that may be.
    edited November 2016
  • Reply 18 of 20

    duervo said:
    g-news said:
    As a PR specialist myself, I can't blame them for leaving.
    Agreed. After things like saying in the iPhone 7 keynote that headphone jack removal was the future, and then about 2 months later releasing MacBook Pro's that still had it in them ... kinda hard to look good when trying to explain that.

    People can justify that particular item anyway they like to coincide with their views, but can't much argue the fact that it sends a contradictory signal to the general public.
    nonsense. they're are two very different tools, form factors, and use cases, with likewise different constraints and compromises. 

    trust me when i say -- designing things isn't a job for you.
    So, what's going to be your excuse once Apple gets rid of the headphone jack in the MacBooks and MacBook Pros?

    Better bookmark this thread, so you can come up with something to say that doesn't contradict your statements in it, or else you might end up doing an "Apple".
    edited November 2016
  • Reply 19 of 20
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    duervo said:

    duervo said:
    g-news said:
    As a PR specialist myself, I can't blame them for leaving.
    Agreed. After things like saying in the iPhone 7 keynote that headphone jack removal was the future, and then about 2 months later releasing MacBook Pro's that still had it in them ... kinda hard to look good when trying to explain that.

    People can justify that particular item anyway they like to coincide with their views, but can't much argue the fact that it sends a contradictory signal to the general public.
    nonsense. they're are two very different tools, form factors, and use cases, with likewise different constraints and compromises. 

    trust me when i say -- designing things isn't a job for you.
    So, what's going to be your excuse once Apple gets rid of the headphone jack in the MacBooks and MacBook Pros?

    Better bookmark this thread, so you can come up with something to say that doesn't contradict your statements in it, or else you might end up doing an "Apple".
    i've already addressed it in other threads, new one. it's no secret that the universal interface for headphones on apple gear will be wireless. that should be obvious since they said so on stage. lightning headsets are a stopgap measure and little more. as with every port format before it, there will be a time when we no longer need the legacy ports. as it has been doing for 30 years, apple will be leading the charge. most of us won't mind. haters, whiners, and armchair execs (which one are you?) will complain and scream and kick their heels. but the sun will rise the next day and the products will sell. so it goes. 
  • Reply 20 of 20
    dacloodacloo Posts: 890member
    I heard their latest couragious prototype removed the charging port.
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