As Apple's new "vice president of people," Deirdre O’Brien will lead all of the HR functions and oversee its internal employee training program, Apple University. Photo courtesy Apple.

Published: July 24th, 2017

Apple Inc. has announced that its longtime vice president of worldwide sales and operations will soon be in charge of its HR department, a position it’s calling “vice president of people.”

Deirdre O’Brien, who joined the Cupertino, Calif. tech giant in 1988, will assume her new position this fall.

In a July 21 press release, Apple CEO Tim Cook praised O’Brien’s contributions to Apple, calling her “the glue that bonds our operations, sales, marketing and finance teams” over the course of her 30-year career.

“Deirdre deeply understands Apple’s unique culture and that people join Apple to do the best work of their lives,” he said. “She is a superb leader and I’m thrilled she will be bringing her experience and talent to this critical role.”

O’Brien echoed Cook’s praise in the same release, saying that she loved Apple and was honoured to have made it her life’s work.

“I’m excited to begin this new chapter, supporting 120,000 incredibly talented people around the world who are motivated to do amazing things every day,” she said. “It is a privilege to work among such a diverse and talented team, and to help them thrive.”

As vice president of worldwide sales and operations, O’Brien has played a key role in every Apple hardware product launch over the past 20 years, and according to the company, her team’s work has helped Apple scale quickly and improve customer service.

In her new role, she’ll be leading all HR functions including talent development, recruiting, benefits, compensation and business support, and overseeing the company’s internal training program, Apple University.

The name of O’Brien’s position is a new one for Apple; her predecessor, Denise Young Smith, had previously served as Apple’s global head of human resources before being appointed vice president for inclusion and diversity in May.

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