Apple losing 2 veteran execs who were key in producing its top devices

February 27, 2020, 1:15 PM UTC

Apple Inc. has lost a pair of veteran executives who worked in the manufacturing, supply chain and operations group and were key participants in the production of many of the company’s major devices.

Nick Forlenza, a vice president of manufacturing design, has retired from Apple, while Duco Pasmooij, another vice president who worked on operations, is discussing an exit in the near future, according to people familiar with the moves. Pasmooij left the operations team over a year ago, moving into a role reporting to the company’s head of augmented reality efforts, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing personnel.

Apple has about a hundred vice presidents across the company who help Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook and the senior executive team run one of the world’s most profitable companies. An Apple spokesman declined to comment. Forlenza and Pasmooij didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Apple’s work on operations has become even more critical in recent years, which is evident within its top ranks. Apple’s top two employees, Cook and Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams, come from the operations world. Its newest member of the executive team, Sabih Kahn, is its senior vice president of operations.

Cook, since joining Apple more than 20 years ago, has transformed Apple’s supply chain, relying on China to manufacture devices with the help of low-cost, skilled labor, and to ship those products around the world. Apple depends on its operations group to ramp up and produce devices with complex designs and technology.

The unit is central to the company’s search for more places to supply and build its products in the face of geopolitical issues, such as the U.S. trade war with China, and the outbreak of the Covid-19 coronavirus. The personnel moves aren’t related to each other nor the recent supply chain disruptions, according to the people familiar with the matter.

Forlenza had worked under Kahn as an executive in charge of manufacturing design, leading a team of supply chain and operations executives globally responsible for production processes and manufacturing equipment. While Apple outsources the production of its millions of devices to partners like Foxconn Technology Group and Pegatron Corp., the Cupertino, California-based company meticulously sets out how its products are built to meet its standards.

Pasmooij for many years helped lead production operations for Apple’s most-important product, the iPhone. Recently, he reported to Mike Rockwell, the vice president in charge of augmented reality and virtual reality efforts, but didn’t have any direct reports of his own.

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