Apple names Denise Smith as new head of human resources

Apple headquarters (Cupertino, Clifornia, exterior 001)

Hoping to continue its efforts to attract and retain top talent, Apple has named Denise Young Smith its new head of human resources. Smith replaces Joel Podolny, who will now focus all of his energy on Apple University—a platform for teaching ‘Apple’ culture.

The announcement is notable for a few reasons. First, Smith will be the latest woman to join Apple’s top ranks— the company has taken heat recently over the lack of diversity on its executive team—and two, she will be in charge of attracting and retaining talent…

Bloomberg reports:

“Apple Inc. (AAPL) promoted Denise Young Smith to lead human resources, selecting an insider with experience in the retail-store division as the iPhone maker seeks to attract and retain top talent. Smith is replacing Joel Podolny, who will focus full-time on Apple University, according to Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Apple. 

“We are excited that Denise Young Smith will expand her role to lead Apple’s worldwide human resources organization,” Huguet wrote in an e-mail. “Apple University is an increasingly important resource within the company as we continue to grow, so Joel Podolny will be focusing full-time on developing and scaling the university he helped establish.”

The new role will likely prove difficult for Smith, as although the company has no problem hiring top talent—see this list of recent CEO and CTO hires—it has to fend off the likes of Google, Facebook and dozens of Silicon Valley startups with big bucks, to retain them.

On the flip side, it’s interesting that overseeing the Apple University project is now a full time gig. Podolny helped establish the University, which trains future executives to essentially think like Steve Jobs, instilling principles like secrecy, simplicity and attention to detail.