Bob Mansfield Retires as Head of Apple Hardware Engineering

Apple announced on Thursday that Bob Mansfield, the company’s well-respected senior vice president of Hardware Engineering, will retire. Dan Riccio, Apple’s current vice president of iPad Hardware Engineering, will be assuming Mr. Mansfield’s role, though the company said that its engineering team will continue to report to Bob Mansfield until his unspecified departure.

Bob Mansfield

Bob Mansfield
Source: Apple

Apple CEO Tim Cook heaped praise on Mr. Mansfield, who was in charge of Mac hardware engineering starting in 2005, and in 2008, he was given a pay upgrade to senior vice president of Mac Hardware Engineering. In 2010, he also assumed responsibility for hardware engineering for iPod and iPad, and the company said that he has overseen iPad hardware engineering “since its inception.”

“Bob has been an instrumental part of our executive team, leading the hardware engineering organization and overseeing the team that has delivered dozens of breakthrough products over the years,” Mr. Cook said in a statement. “We are very sad to have him leave and hope he enjoys every day of his retirement.”

At the same time, Mr. Cook offered up props for Dan Riccio, saying, “Dan has been one of Bob’s key lieutenants for a very long time and is very well respected within Apple and by the industry. Our hardware engineering team is the best engineering team on earth and will not miss a beat during the transition.”

Mr. Riccio was described as being “instrumental in all of Apple’s iPad products” from the first generation iPad. He has been with Apple since 1998, when he was hired on at the company as vice president of Product Design. That means he was most likely handpicked by Steve Jobs, who spent much of his first few years back at Apple rebuilding the company’s executive team.

We don’t have an official photo for Mr. Riccio yet, but his Facebook profile offers up this photo:

Dan Riccio

Dan Riccio

For those wanting to read the tea leaves, the fact that Mr. Mansfield is staying at Apple until his actual departure somewhere down the line strongly suggests that he truly is retiring. Apple’s announcement has none of the hallmarks of corporate PR speak such as, “leaving to spend more time with his family,” that is usually code for “the dude was fired.”

At the same time, Apple is trying to make it clear that his role is being assumed by someone steeped in the Apple way. The company wants to assure outside watchers (i.e. Wall Street) that the transition will be smooth.