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Craig Federighi, Senior Vice President, Software

Engineering at Apple Inc.

 

A key rising star at Apple Inc. is Craig Federighi, the senior vice president of software engineering, who reports directly to CEO Tim Cook. He oversees several major Apple technology groups including the common operating system engineering teams. The teams Federighi oversees are responsible for delivering the software at the heart of Apple's products, including the user interface, applications, and frameworks. 

 

Prior to his present position, Federighi had been work- ing at Apple on and off for many years. He began his professional career as a project engineer in 1994 at NeXT, the company Steve Jobs started after being released from Apple in the 1980s. Federighi joined Apple when the company acquired NeXT, and Jobs was brought back. Soon thereafter, Federighi resigned from Apple to join Ariba, an enterprise software company. He spent ten years at Ariba, eventually being promoted to chief technology officer. Federighi rejoined Apple to head the division responsible for the Mac OS X. 

 

Federighi contributes enormous technical expertise to the company and frequently appears on stage during product launch events, such as the developer's conference. His passion for Apple hardware and software, combined with his charisma contribute to his effectiveness as a product pitchperson. As Federighi explains, "OK, I'm a technology freak, but I think probably if someone mapped my brain, you would find there were moments when I lit up the love pattern in my neurons in association with our products." 

 

Several people who know both Federighi and Tim Cook say that the two are similar in their preference for building consensus on major decisions, which often increases the time consumed in making a decision. Federighi also works to attain collaboration among specialists who relish complexity in products with those who look to make things simple for the end user. He says that having team members who are good at complexity and those who are not is a critical element of collaboration. 

To overcome some of the divisiveness that existed in the previous top-management team, the new top team consisting of Cook, Jony Ive, and Federighi emphasizes collaboration and camaraderie. The three men collectively are considered to be the new visionary-in-chief to replace the late Steve Jobs. 

 

Federighi's formal education includes a Master of Science degree in computer science and a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of California, Berkeley. 

 

QUESTIONS:

1. How would you characterize the leadership style of Craig Federighi?

2. What appear to be several of Federighi's leadership characteristics?

3. To what extent do you think Federighi is qualified for his position as a leading technology executive?

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