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Apple names general counsel

The company names a new general counsel to its management team, marking the latest executive to be pulled from the ranks of interim CEO Steve Jobs's former company, Next.

Apple (AAPL) today named a new general counsel to its management team, marking the latest executive to be pulled from the ranks of interim CEO Steve Jobs's former company, Next.

Nancy Heinen, 40, is senior vice president and general counsel, effective immediately. She replaces John "Jack" Douglas III, who served in that role for nine months and indicated that he will return to Massachusetts to be reunited with his family.

Heinen previously served as the former general counsel at Next.

Heinen joins three other former Next executives who are filling key roles at the troubled computer maker as it sets its sights on gaining a larger slice in its core markets of education and publishing. Apple also is looking to chart out new strategies, such as all but dumping its licensing arrangements.

In addition to Heinen, executives who have landed at Apple following the company?s $430 million acquisition of Next earlier this year include Mitch Mandich, executive vice president of worldwide sales and service; Jon Rubinstein, senior vice president of hardware engineering; and Avadis "Avie" Tevanian, senior vice president of software engineering.

"Apple is entering a dynamic period of innovation in its products, marketing, and distribution, and we need a strong general counsel capable of making things happen with precision and speed," Jobs said in a statement. "Many members of Apple?s top team have worked with Nancy before, and she will hit the ground running."

David Mather, a managing director for executive search firm Christian & Timbers, said the choice of another Next executive makes sense for Apple.

"The dilemma of who will be the next CEO usually makes it harder to recruit people, because they want to know who it will be," Mather said. "But while the CEO search is underway, it may not have been a problem [to hire the Next employees] because these are people who would have been exiting Next anyway [with the sale]."

Mather added that top executives frequently pull from the ranks of their previous companies because their former coworkers are a known quantity who tend to have a shorter learning curve in developing a working relationship.

"Given what Apple wants to do, it?s not abnormal in terms of the timing or extent that he?s pulled from Next," Mather said.