December 17, 2015 Last Updated 9:30 am

Apple shake up: Phil Schiller to take over App Store duties, Tor Myhren joins from Grey Group

Also: Jeff Williams named chief operating officer, Johny Srouji joining Apple’s executive team as senior vice president for Hardware Technologies

This may be very good news for those who have been complaining for years about the App Store and iTunes: Apple announced today that Phil Schiller, currently senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, would take over running the App Store. Until now that has been Eddy Cue’s area of concern.

schiller-400Apple also announced that Tor Myhren will join Apple as vice president of Marketing Communications, he comes over from Grey Advertising – in other words, an actual PR pro.

I want to think these are really great moves. Schiller  (right) is someone who does a fantastic job during Apple events, and Myhren is a communications pro – this should a step in the right direction.

But this all assumes that these moves are being made because Apple CEO Tim Cook sees what those of us see: that Apple’s App Store (and iTunes itself) have been decaying and falling behind the competition, and that Apple’s communications haven’t been the best for a long time now. (My standard joke with press reps from other tech companies is that Apple’s press team doesn’t actually exist.)

Let’s hope for the best.

Here is Apple’s announcement:

CUPERTINO, California — December 17, 2015 — Apple today announced that Jeff Williams has been named chief operating officer and Johny Srouji is joining Apple’s executive team as senior vice president for Hardware Technologies. Phil Schiller, senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, will expand his role to include leadership of the revolutionary App Store across all Apple platforms. Apple also announced that Tor Myhren will join Apple in the first calendar quarter of 2016 as vice president of Marketing Communications, reporting to CEO Tim Cook.

“We are fortunate to have incredible depth and breadth of talent across Apple’s executive team. As we come to the end of the year, we’re recognizing the contributions already being made by two key executives,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Jeff is hands-down the best operations executive I’ve ever worked with, and Johny’s team delivers world-class silicon designs which enable new innovations in our products year after year.”

Cook continued, “In addition, Phil is taking on new responsibilities for advancing our ecosystem, led by the App Store, which has grown from a single, groundbreaking iOS store into four powerful platforms and an increasingly important part of our business. And I’m incredibly happy to welcome Tor Myhren, who will bring his creative talents to our advertising and marcom functions.”

Jeff joined Apple in 1998 as head of worldwide procurement and in 2004 he was named vice president of Operations. Since 2010 he has overseen Apple’s entire supply chain, service and support, and the social responsibility initiatives which protect more than one million workers worldwide. Jeff played a key role in Apple’s entry into the mobile phone market with the launch of iPhone®, and he continues to supervise development of Apple’s first wearable product, Apple Watch®.

In nearly eight years at Apple as vice president of Hardware Technologies, Johny Srouji has built one of the world’s strongest and most innovative teams of silicon and technology engineers, overseeing breakthrough custom silicon and hardware technologies including batteries, application processors, storage controllers, sensors silicon, display silicon and other chipsets across Apple’s entire product line. Educated at Technion, Israel’s Institute of Technology, Johny joined Apple in 2008 to lead development of the A4, the first Apple-designed system on a chip.

With added responsibility for the App Store, Phil Schiller will focus on strategies to extend the ecosystem Apple customers have come to love when using their iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV. Phil now leads nearly all developer-related functions at Apple, in addition to his other marketing responsibilities including Worldwide Product Marketing, international marketing, education and business marketing. More than 11 million developers around the world create apps for Apple’s four software platforms — iOS, OS X®, watchOS™ and tvOS™ — as well as compatible hardware and other accessories, and customers have downloaded more than 100 billion apps across those platforms.

Tor Myhren joins Apple from Grey Group, where he has served as chief creative officer and president of Grey New York. Under his leadership, Grey was named Adweek’s Global Agency of the Year for both 2013 and 2015. As vice president of Marketing Communications at Apple, Tor will be responsible for Apple’s advertising efforts and will lead an award-winning team that spans a broad range of creative disciplines from video, motion graphics and interactive web design to packaging and retail store displays.

Tor will succeed Hiroki Asai, who earlier announced plans to retire after 18 years in graphic design and marketing communications roles at Apple.

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