Apple Inc. said that top hardware manager Dan Riccio is stepping down to lead a new project within the company and one of its top lieutenants will be replaced by John Ternus.
Riccio has been Senior Vice President Hardware Engineering since 2012 and oversees hardware development for iPhone, iPad, Mac and audio products such as AirPods and HomePod. Ternus, who Bloomberg reported last year would replace Riccio, has been vice president of hardware engineering since 2013, most recently leading the engineering groups for the iPhone, Mac and iPad.
Riccio will remain with the company as vice president of engineering and focus on a new project reporting to chief executive officer Tim Cook, the Cupertino, Calif.-Based tech giant said in a statement Monday. “I look forward to doing what I love most – focusing all of my time and energy at Apple on creating something new and wonderful that I couldn’t be more excited about,” Riccio said in the statement.
Apple hasn’t specified Riccio’s new contract, but the company has at least two major hardware initiatives in the works: a self-driving car and headsets for augmented reality and virtual reality. In his previous position, Apple’s head of AR and VR hardware reported to Riccio, while the car project was postponed last year under the leadership of John Giannandrea, the company’s head of machine learning.
Apple is working on a consumer-centric self-driving car, but it won’t hit the market for five to seven years, Bloomberg News reported earlier this month. However, Apple is getting closer to announcing its first VR-focused headset as early as next year, while lightweight AR glasses won’t hit the market until a few years later.
Riccio joined Apple in 1998 and succeeded Bob Mansfield as head of hardware development nine years ago. When Mansfield left that job, he also stayed at Apple and became head of the auto project in 2016 before retiring last year. Riccio briefly oversaw the car project in its early stages.
Apple has brought Ternus into the public eye in recent years. When the company was criticized a few years ago for rarely updating its Mac computers and not having features requested by professional users such as photo and video editors and app developers, Ternus, as chief executive officer, responded to the complaints and promised to improve the machines. In November, Ternus announced new Mac laptops, which were the first to use company-developed chips.
A person who knows Ternus told Bloomberg in September that he is a well-respected manager who understands the technology and, despite his growing profile, has remained humble – all hallmarks of a potential future department head or even a CEO.
At the beginning of 2020, Ternus’ responsibility was expanded to include the iPhone. Prior to this change, Riccio spent most of his time with the handset, the product that generates most of Apple’s sales. He also worked closely with Jony Ive, Apple’s former chief designer, who left in 2019.
Riccio is the second top executive to leave Apple’s leadership team last year while remaining in another role with the company. Phil Schiller, Apple’s former senior vice president, was named an Apple Fellow last year, who led the App Store, public relations, and creating Apple product announcements.
Jeff Williams, Chief Operating Officer, remains the only holdover from the executive team that worked under the late Steve Jobs’ former CEO and co-founder. Every member under Cook has either been promoted to or hired on the leadership team since Cook was named CEO in 2011.