Several top executives of Apple have left the company recently at a time when macroeconomic conditions across the world are getting tighter and the firm is facing pressures from regulators to ease its dominance in certain specific markets.
The first notable departure was that of Evans Hankey, the successor of Apple’s famed Chief Design Officer, Jony Yve. Hankey took over Ive’s role three years ago and had been heading the company’s industrial design unit since then.
Meanwhile, some C-level positions have also been vacated lately including that of Chief Information and Chief Privacy Officer as a result of the retirement of Mary Demby and the upcoming departure of Jane Horvath.
Moreover, Bloomberg recently reported that the Vice President of Online Retail for Apple (AAPL), Anna Matthiasson, is leaving the company as well. Her duties will be temporarily taken over by Karen Rasmussen, who is currently the senior director of e-commerce for the Cupertino-based tech company.
Apple has not officially announced who will be replacing these key figures at the company and has appointed substitutes for the short-term as the senior management is possibly studying bringing external candidates or the eligibility of those who was second-in-command.
Notably, all of the departing executives have been women. According to Apple’s diversity tracker, 47% of the company’s open leadership roles are filled by women while roughly 35% of the company’s global workforce is made up of individuals who identify themselves as female. Meanwhile, 31.4% of the individuals that make up the company’s leadership team are reportedly women.
Apple’s Headwinds Include Supply Chain Constraints and Threats of a Global Recession
Thus far, there is no obvious correlation between these departures. However, the timing could not be worse for Apple as the company is facing strong economic headwinds across the world resulting from what could be the beginning of a recessionary cycle.
In addition, the company’s supply chain has been put under pressure lately as China has implemented strict lockdowns in key regions where the tech company has manufacturing partners or facilities.
By the end of 2021, roughly 39% of Apple’s suppliers were located in Mainland China. The company has been progressively transitioning some of its manufacturing facilities in the Asian country to other countries within the region.
Meanwhile, inflationary pressures may threaten to slow down sales growth as consumers may be forced to reduce their discretionary expenditures to make ends meet – especially in emerging economies where disposable income is not as high as in places like the United States.
During the latest earnings conference, Tim Cook commented that Apple has not been able to put its demand to the test as a result of its supply chain constraints. “In terms of testing the demand, you can’t really test the demand unless you have the supply”, the head of the tech company acknowledged.
“We worry that Apple may have been a COVID beneficiary, amid work/learn from home and strong consumer spending, which could reverse, particularly as consumers’ spending priorities change and rising rates potentially pressure demand”, analyst Toni Sacconaghi from Bernstein told Reuters a few days ago.
In addition, the strength of the US dollar could also be a headwind for the firm’s financial performance over the coming quarters, especially if the Federal Reserve continues to hike interest rates.
The reason for this is that a significant portion of Apple’s revenues are generated overseas. If the dollar keeps rising, the dollar value of its revenues from other countries will likely decline and that could hurt its top-line growth in the short term.
Apple is Facing Mounting Regulatory Pressure to Change Its Monopolistic Practices
Finally, regulatory pressures may end up hurting the revenue-generation capacity of the Apple App Store as countries including India and South Korea along with the European Union have been passing stricter rules that seek to curve the firm’s dominance of the mobile app market.
Recently, India fined Apple’s rival Alphabet (GOOG) with roughly $300 million amid its monopolistic practices that forced developers to solely use the firm’s payment processing platform for both in-app purchases and subscriptions.
Apple’s business model is quite similar to that of Google and that could make the firm the next target for regulators who are looking to make this space fairer amid the mounting complaints from startups in the software development world that have been asphyxiated by the hefty commissions charged by the two app marketplaces.
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