Apple’s SVP of Hardware Bob Mansfield is retiring

We don’t typically cover employee departures at Apple, but in this case, we figured it was definitely worth mentioning. Apple has announced this afternoon that its vice president of Mac and iOS hardware, Bob Mansfield, is retiring…

From Apple’s press release:

 “Apple today announced that Bob Mansfield, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Engineering, will retire and the role will be transitioned to Dan Riccio, Apple’s vice president of iPad Hardware Engineering, over several months. The entire hardware engineering team will continue to report to Mansfield until his departure.

“Bob has been an instrumental part of our executive team, leading the hardware engineering organization and overseeing the team that has delivered dozens of breakthrough products over the years,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We are very sad to have him leave and hope he enjoys every day of his retirement.”

This is a pretty big deal. Not only has Bob overseen the development of a number of successful products — the iPad, iPhone, etc. — but he has been a recognizable figure at Apple for several years.

In 2010, Mansfield joined Tim Cook and Steve Jobs on stage to field questions at the infamous iPhone 4 “antennagate” event. And he’s appeared in dozens of Apple’s white-screened product videos.

In the end, we’re sure that Dan Riccio will make a fine replacement. But we can’t help but feel a little saddened by the fact that a major part of Apple’s executive team, which has been leading the company to greatness for 10+ years, will soon be leaving.