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Apple’s head of comms is leaving after less than a year

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Stella Low is out, Apple vet Kristin Huguet Quayle is in

Apple is renowned for a culture of secrecy, one that’s managed in no small part by the company’s head of communications. But it’s had a hard time filling that role, with the most recent entrant — Stella Low, formerly Cisco’s PR chief — now leaving after less than a year on the job.

Fifteen-year Apple vet Kristin Huguet Quayle is taking over, according to journalist Kara Swisher and BuzzFeed’s John Paczkowski. Apple confirmed to BuzzFeed that she’s been promoted effective immediately, as Low leaves to spend more time with her family. The previous comms boss, Steve Dowling, left in September 2019, and Apple left the role open for nearly two years before hiring Low last May. (During that time, long-time Apple marketing and App Store boss Phil Schiller reportedly stood in.)

Between Dowling and Low, Apple became the world’s most valuable publicly traded company, got itself into the (ongoing) Epic v. Apple lawsuit, and became embroiled in all kinds of scrutiny from antitrust enforcers, developers, app store users, and its own employees — the ones that could maybe bring its fortress of secrecy toppling down.

Apple’s PR chief before that, Katie Cotton, set the tone for the company’s communications for 18 years. Apple was reportedly looking for a “friendlier, more approachable” successor after she left. I’m curious if the company’s relationship with the press will change again now.