Trading on Wall Street is closed until tomorrow in light of Hurricane Sandy, though a slew of new analyst notes offer a peek at how investors should view recently announced changes near the top of Apple's management.
The consensus: it's surprising that, but a very good thing some of the key executives are still there.
CNET has collected some of the highlights from this morning's flurry of notes below.
Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray says the big takeaway is that design chief Jony Ive isn't going anywhere anytime soon:
While things can always change, we believe that yesterday's announcement all but confirmed that Ive will be with the company for the foreseeable future, putting to rest a recurring investor concern of an Apple without Ive. This, combined with Tim Cook's nine years remaining on his contract with Apple, suggests the two most critical management figures will be in place for the longer term. We think that despite the departure of Forstall who ran iOS development, iOS's future is in good hands. Separately, we see the John Browett departure as related to Ive/Forstall news in the sense that Apple wanted to make all of the significant upper level management changes together.
Shaw Wu of Sterne Agee provides a history lesson on previous Apple executive departures, saying it's kept humming:
Many have asked our take on management changes where four members of AAPL's senior executive team will assume greater responsibilities while two will move on. We believe these moves make sense in promoting more collaboration but are still somewhat surprised with the sudden demotion of Scott Forstall. But at the same time, we don't think it will be a big deal as the company has arguably not missed a beat despite senior departures in the past, showing the resilience of Apple's mission and culture."
Strong culture trumps management turnover. We would like to note that this isn't the first time that senior executives have departed the company. Some we think of include Fred Anderson, Jon Rubenstein, Tony Fadell, Avi Tevanian, and Bertrend Setlet and the company has arguably not missed a beat. We believe this is a testament to AAPL's strong culture that continues to endure despite changes in personnel through the years.
Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets calls the move a "natural evolution" for Apple:
Pushing for new levels of future innovation drives leadership changes. Last night, Apple announced leadership changes as part of an intensified collaboration strategy that we believe will more closely align the Company's hardware, software and services disciplines to provide customers with a new level of product innovation. We view this as a natural evolution at Apple as the company increasingly pushes for a more seamless integration across devices and even better, more integrated experience for customers.
William Power of Robert Baird & Co says that the change is simply Apple CEO Tim Cook making the company more his own:
Though Scott Forstall's departure is a surprise, this appears to be part of Tim Cook putting his own stamp on the company, and importantly, he is still surrounded by several key long-time Apple executives and innovators.
Likewise, the loss of John Browett is also a surprise, though we would note he has only led the group since April. We suspect, given Apple's strong retail success, that it should be able to find a strong replacement.
We'll add more as they come.
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