Apple named Deirdre O’Brien as its new Vice President of People. Ms. O’Brien has worked at Apple for some 30 years, which means she’s worked for five different Apple CEOs: John Sculley, Michael “The Diesel” Spindler, Gil Amelio, Steve Jobs, and Tim Cook.
Deirdre O’Brien takes over the newly minted “VP of Peeps” position from another vice president’s role: Worldwide Sales and Operations. Some may see sales-and-operations-to-human-resources as an unusual move, but Apple CEO Tim Cook made a strong pitch for Ms. O’Brien in Apple’s press release, saying:
As long as I’ve been at Apple, Deirdre has been the glue that bonds our operations, sales, marketing and finance teams to deliver products to our customers. Deirdre deeply understands Apple’s unique culture and that people join Apple to do the best work of their lives. She is a superb leader and I’m thrilled she will be bringing her experience and talent to this critical role.
Apple furthermore noted that her role in coordinating Apple’s global operations means she has a strong track record of “collaboration and leadership.” The company added, “Deirdre has played a key role in every Apple hardware product launch over the past 20 years.”
30 years is a long stint in Silicon Valley, and Ms. O’Brien has seen Apple rise and fall and rise again. Her tenure also speaks directly to her abilities. Not only has she survived major shakeups at Apple, she thrived under Steve Jobs, a leader known for firing people on a dime.