Monday, August 27, 2012 at 8:16 pm.
Who Is Apple’s Most Powerful Woman?
With a couple of promotions today, Apple rearranged its executive team photo matrix. It’s now a dozen middle-aged white guys, from CEO Tim Cook down to Jeff Williams, Apple’s SVP of Operations. The main diversity questions on the page seem to be, “Is he British?” or “Is his shirt blue?”
So, who is Apple’s most powerful woman? The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal has been all over this question on Twitter, and it’s a good one. (Especially in contrast to Google’s management team, as Farhad Manjoo notes.)
The easy answer, I suppose, is Katie Cotton, Apple’s VP of communications. She isn’t pictured on Apple’s executive page, but her job — managing Apple’s image, publicity, media relations, etc. — is one of the most important at Apple, and therefore, in the business world. Other tech PR executives I respect have called her “the best in the business.” And so forth.
But as Madrigal tweets, “She’s the best candidate, but worst profilee. Can they really have no women high up in engr/design?”
This is where someone like John Gruber would probably know better than I do. But the name I’ve heard more times than others is Shaan Pruden. She has been with Apple since 1989, and lists herself on LinkedIn as Senior Director of Partnership Management and Worldwide Developer Relations. That’s probably been an important role at Apple forever. But it’s much more important now, given how huge the iOS App Store is — both in terms of its significance to Apple’s strategy and the size of its business.
So that’s one option. And there are a few more women on Fortune’s Apple org chart. There’s this Business Insider feature (via Mark Gurman) on important women at Apple, including Jennifer Bailey (online stores) and Isabel Ge Mahe (iOS wireless software). Avon chairman Andrea Jung is also on Apple’s board. And I don’t have any sort of conspiracy theory that Apple doesn’t want more women among its executive ranks — it’s an industry-wide challenge that’s widely covered.
Still, yikes — that’s a bunch of white guys.