November 22, 2004 10:54 AM PST

Engineering, support executives leave Apple

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Two Apple Computer executives have quietly left the company in recent weeks, including the Macintosh unit's head of engineering.

Tim Bucher, who became head of Mac product engineering earlier this year, left the company on Nov. 15. An Apple representative confirmed the departure Monday but did not give a reason. Also departing in recent weeks was Mark Wilhelm, the vice president in charge of the company's AppleCare support unit.

Apple has not named a successor for Bucher but said a team of workers is overseeing engineering efforts and reporting to executive vice president Tim Cook, the leader of Apple's Mac unit and also the head of the company's overall sales and operations.

"While we search for a new leader, Tim Cook has appointed an engineering management team to lead the organization," the Apple representative said. The team will consist of Apple's design guru, Jonathan Ive, along with Bob Mansfield, Dan Riccio and someone recently hired to lead the electrical-engineering group, whose name Apple did not release.

Apple declined to offer further details on Wilhelm's departure or on who is running the support operations in his absence.

Bucher was head of Mac system development until May, when he was promoted to head all Mac engineering efforts, replacing Jon Rubinstein, who was tapped to head a new iPod division.

The departures come as Apple's stock has been on a tear, buoyed by rising iPod sales and optimistic notes from Wall Street analysts. Shares saw another jump Monday, as Piper Jaffray set a $100 price target for the stock, noting that the success of the iPod could further boost Mac sales. Shares were up $6.33, or more than 11 percent, at $61.50 in midday trading on the Nasdaq.

Both departures were reported earlier on Mac enthusiast sites; Bucher's departure was noted by newsletter MDJ, while AppleInsider reported on Wilhelm.

 

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