Apple shuffles Bob Mansfield sideways

The man who gave Apple some of its key devices, including the popular MacBook Air, has been shuffled sideways.

Apple breathlessly said that Bob Mansfield, senior vice president of technologies has been pushed out of its executive team to work on “special projects”.

For those who came in late, “special projects” is usually a job given to those who you do not want to make decisions, but cannot actually remove because it will annoy staff and shareholders. Their “office” is often the lift.

To be fair Mansfield was on his way out of the building. Last year he announced his plan to retire as head of hardware engineering. Instead he stayed on to lead Apple’s semiconductor and wireless teams.

Mansfield is the latest addition to chief executive Tim Cook’s “special projects” team which appears to be made up of high profile names who are unlikely to produce real products.

One of the team members is the former chief executive of French luxury group Yves Saint Laurent, Paul Deneve. It is possible that the team’s job is just to come up with ideas to save the company before it dawns on the world the iPhone and iPad are being endlessly recycled.

Last October, Cook overhauled his management team, pushing out the powerful head of the company’s mobile software products group.