The leadership reorganization at Apple Inc. has progressed with the appointment of the company’s first Chief People Officer. Deirdre O’Brien will remain in her position as head of retail, and she has appointed Carol Surface, previously of health technology giant Medtronic, to take over human resources tasks.
CEO Tim Cook allegedly informed staff in a memo that Surface will join Apple in March and will directly report to Cook. Deirdre O’Brien, a 30-year Apple expert who has served as Apple’s senior VP of Retail + People since 2019, will be repositioning her responsibilities as part of this transition. As of March, when Apple’s Surface initiative officially kicks off, O’Brien will no longer be responsible for human resources, freeing her to focus only on retail.
Chief People Officer Is A First For Apple
O’Brien was the company’s vice president of international sales and operations until being moved to VP of People in 2017. After Angela Ahrendts left Apple in 2019, she took over the retail division as well.
Carol Surface, formerly the executive vice president of human resources at Medtronic for ten years, has joined Apple as the Chief People Officer. She worked at Best Buy for three and a half years in a similar capacity before that, and she spent over a decade in human resources and people roles at PepsiCo. Both her BA and her Ph.D. are in the field of psychology; her BA is from Castleton University and her Ph.D. is from Central Michigan University, both in industrial and organizational psychology. This shake-up follows other latest improvements in Apple’s executive team, such as Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams’ expanded role and Head of Corporate Development Adrian Perica’s new responsibilities.
Apple hopes to build a robust human resources infrastructure to best serve its workers and propel the company ahead, and it has hired Surface as its first Chief People Officer to do just that.