The Story Behind Bob Mansfield’s Return to Apple

The Story Behind Bob Mansfield’s Return to Apple

Join us once again for the continuing story of “As The iPhone Turns” as AllThingsD reveals the story behind the return of Bob Mansfield, Apple’s former senior vice president of Hardware Engineering.


The longtime company exec returned fully to Apple this week following a rare executive shake-up that saw the departure of Scott Forstall, one of the most visible faces of Apple since Steve Jobs’ death last year, and head of its mobile iOS business. In the wake of that jarring departure: Mansfield in a brand-new position as senior vice president of Technologies.

Mansfield retired from Apple back in June, only to suddenly return to the company in August. This was received as great news for Apple, as Mansfield was a highly regarded 13-year veteran of the company who oversaw the engineering of every major piece of hardware Apple rolled out over the past decade.

It was thought of as odd that the company, who usually meticulously plans such executive transitions, would announce a retirement, only to have it withdrawn a mere two months later.

Mansfield was said to be quite serious about retiring, which made his return to Apple all the more mysterious.

AllThingsD reports that Mansfield only changed his mind after Tim “The Godfather” Cook made him “an offer he could not refuse.” The offer is said to have included massive amounts of money, and a huge stock pay package. Even with that, Mansfield only agreed to return as an advisor.

At the time of Mansfield’s return to the fold, Apple would only say that he had returned to oversee development of “future products”. Some sources reported that he had come back to help Apple CEO Cook with the trasition of the hardware engineering team to new leadership under Dan Riccio, which wasn’t going well.

After the Forstall ouster Cook announced very suddenly announced that Mansfield had agreed to stay with the company for another two years. This was not a coincidence say sources.

Mansfield was reported to not be a fan of Forstall’s confrontational form of management, and he generally tried to avoid Forstall when he could. Bloomberg reported last year that Manfield would only meet with Forstall if Cook were present to act as a referee.

While Mansfield didn’t throw down the “it’s him or me” gauntlet to Cook, it was clear he’d be much more willing to commit to two more years if he knew Scott was getting the boot.

Tune in again tomorrow for the next exciting episode of “As the iPhone Turns.”