Apple's PR Chief Steve Dowling Departing, Phil Schiller to Take Over on Interim Basis


macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Apple's vice president of communications, Steve Dowling, is leaving the company after 16 years, reports Recode.

Dowling in 2014 took over from Katie Cotton, Apple's former PR lead who left the company. Since then, he's been running Apple's PR team.

Dowling first joined Apple in 2003, serving as Apple's head of corporate public relations under Katie Cotton until assuming the vice president position after Cotton's departure.

In a memo to staff, Dowling this week said that "it's time" and that he plans to take time off from working.
After 16 years at Apple, countless keynotes, product launches and the occasional PR crisis, I've decided that the time is right for me to step away from our remarkable company. This is something that has been on my mind for a while, and it came into sharp focus during the latest -- and for me, last -- launch cycle. Your plans are set and the team is executing brilliantly as ever. So, it's time.

Phil will be managing the team on an interim basis starting today, and I'll be available through the end of October to help with the transition. After that, I plan to take a good, long stretch of time off before trying something new. At home I have a supportive, patient spouse in Petra and two beautiful children blossoming into their teen years. I'm looking forward to creating more memories with the three of them while I have the chance.

My loyalty to Apple and its people knows no bounds. Working with Tim and this team, accomplishing all we have done together, has been the highlight of my career. I want to thank you for your hard work, your patience and your friendship. And I wish you every success.

I will always bleed six colors.

In a statement on Dowling's departure, Apple said that it's grateful for all that Dowling has done for the company.
"Steve Dowling has been dedicated to Apple for more than 16 years and has contributed to the company at every level through many of its most significant moments. From the first iPhone and App Store to Apple Watch and AirPods, he has helped tell Apple's story and share our values with the world. Following another successful product launch, he has decided to leave Apple to spend some much deserved time with his family. He leaves behind a tremendous legacy that will serve the company well into the future. We're grateful to him for all that he's given to Apple and wish him the best."
Dowling will remain at Apple until the end of October. Marketing chief Phil Schiller will take over for Dowling in the interim while Apple looks to fill its lead PR role. Apple is said to be considering both internal and external candidates.

Article Link: Apple's PR Chief Steve Dowling Departing, Phil Schiller to Take Over on Interim Basis


macrumors 6502a
Jun 7, 2001
I just want to return. I don’t like the “newsroom” URL. The position is PR chief not newsroom chief.


macrumors regular
May 29, 2007
Steve is a very kind guy. I once got an email from him after I send in some complaints about something. He took the time and explained the situation. I think most people will share this experience. Sad to see him go, but understandable.
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macrumors 6502a
Sep 26, 2010
I wonder if this is related to the lame NYT article.
I hope not. I totally enjoy Apple events. No one does them better.


macrumors regular
Jun 9, 2007
The irony of someone named “Schiller” heading up PR is not lost on me...even if a phonetic association only.


macrumors G3
Sep 11, 2014
I wonder if this is related to the lame NYT article.
I hope not. I totally enjoy Apple events. No one does them better.
Well, it sounds like he’s in the same situation with his family that my husband and I are in with kids entering the teen years. It can get more challenging for one parent to do everything and this is the time it really hits that your time with your kids is running down. You feel that countdown to the empty nest.

So maybe he and his wife really do appreciate him stepping away from a high pressure job to be around more. Also this is the time that stress and aging starts taking a toll on health. A lot of us at the same stage of life with family and career can certainly empathize. And note that he’s not the only longtime high level employee to leave recently that sounds a little burned out or worn down, yet still fond of Apple. So there probably is a confluence of the personal with the professional.

But he does actually say a lot about the professional in his own words. And it sounds like he’s taken a lot of accumulated hits for the kinds of criticisms we’ve all gathered annually to level at the keynotes.

I think the WWDC one was a refreshing upswing. But this recent iPhone announcement had all shades of awkward and something awry behind the scenes to it. Presentations that should have been brief were allowed to drag. Details that would have been exciting were rushed or omitted altogether.

It was still better than the competition generally is able to pull off. But Apple is supposed to be the best. Probably because this man gave it his best for so many years.

He sounds like a very dedicated professional and a loving family man. His family will be fortunate to have him home for awhile and his next employer will be lucky to get him. I wish him and his family the best.
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Digital Dude

macrumors 6502a
Not sure if this is Public Relations or Marketing. I wonder if he is responsible for those annoying fake woo-woo we have to listen to at every Apple event. Tim Cook could announce the restrooms are out of order, and you would still hear the always faithfull employees yelling out Wooo!


macrumors 6502a
Mar 8, 2008
when I read his note, it sounded sad, defeated (maybe not a suicide note) but I can only imagine in the last few years how hammered Apple PR is with stuff that we dont/won't even know about. there are more important things out there than a corporate gig, get your check and live a good life.
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