Another Prominent Apple Employee Departs This Week

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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) lost another high-profile employee this week after the Cupertino, California-based company announced that Zane Rowe, head of North American sales, would be leaving the iPhone maker for unknown reasons, reports Reuters. Rowe’s departure follows the recent news that Apple’s longtime vice president of worldwide communications, Katie Cotton, would be resigning from the company in order to spend more time with her family.

“Katie has given her all to this company for over 18 years,” said Apple in a statement to the San Jose Mercury News. “She has wanted to spend time with her children for some time now. We are really going to miss her.”

Unlike Cotton, Rowe had only been with Apple for approximately two years. The former United Continental chief financial officer was hired by Apple in 2012. Although no reasons were given for Rowe’s departure, it should be noted that his exit follows the recent hiring of Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s vaunted new senior vice president of retail and online stores.

It appears that Apple has already filled his position with a rising star from the company’s own ranks. Reuters reports that Apple announced Rowe will be replaced by Doug Beck, the current head of sales for the company in Japan and Korea.

“Doug Beck has done a great job helping to grow Apple’s business in Japan and Korea,” said Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet in an email to Reuters. “His role is expanding to include North America sales as well.”

Beck oversaw the distribution deal between Apple and NTT DoCoMo (NYSE:DCM) — Japan’s largest carrier — that was announced in September, shortly before the release of the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. Since then, Apple has seen phenomenal growth in the Japanese market.

Apple CEO Tim Cook noted the company’s impressive growth in Japan during the company’s fiscal 2014 second-quarter earnings call. “When we look at our company performance on a geographic basis, we are especially proud of our very strong results in greater China, where we established an all-time quarterly revenue record of almost $10 billion, including the results from our retail stores, and in Japan, where revenue was up 26 percent in spite of the foreign-exchange headwinds and where our smartphone market share reached an incredible 55 percent,” said Cook, per a transcript of the earnings call provided by Morningstar.

Although Cook cited a 55 percent market share in Japan, recently released sales data from market research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech suggested that the iPhone maker’s market share was even higher last quarter. Apple’s smartphone market share in Japan jumped to 57.6 percent in the first quarter of 2014, up from 49 percent in the year-ago quarter, according to Kantar.

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