Apple Turns Running and Expanding Apple University Into Full-Time Gig

Apple has turned running the company's Apple University education program for executives into a full time job for Joel Podolny. The former dean of Yale's Business School was hired by Steve Jobs to codevelop the program with him, but since then it's been a part-time gig while Mr. Podolny headed Apple's Human Resources department.

Apple University

That changed this week, according to Bloomberg, as Apple moved Mr. Podolny to running Apple University full time. The company promoted Denise Young Smith to head Apple's human resources in his place.

"We are excited that Denise Young Smith will expand her role to lead Apple’s worldwide human resources organization,” an Apple spokesperson told Bloomberg. "Apple University is an increasingly important resource within the company as we continue to grow, so Joel Podolny will be focusing full-time on developing and scaling the University he helped establish."

Apple University is a training program created to teach executives what Steve Jobs thinks is important about managing at Apple. It's something he began working on as he began to accept the seriousness of the medical issues that eventually took his life, and it's a big part of why Mr. Jobs claimed that Apple was the thing he was most proud of having created.

In Walter Isaacson's biography, Steve Jobs explained that he had worked hard to make Apple a company that would outlast him, that would continue to innovate even without the visionary at the helm. Apple University is a big part of that effort.

As reported by the LA Times in 2011, the University-level course teach the principles and tenets that Steve Jobs, "believe[d] unleash innovation and sustain success at Apple — accountability, attention to detail, perfectionism, simplicity, secrecy."

Though one of the largest companies on the planet by revenue and profit, Apple is a company that runs very lean. Moving Mr. Podolny into a full time job running and expanding Apple University suggests that Tim Cook is very committed to the effort.