Apple has seen another high-profile departure with DJ Novotney, a vice president of hardware engineering, announcing his move to electric vehicle maker Rivian Automotive according to a new report by Bloomberg. This follows a string of senior exits from the iPhone maker in recent months.
Novotney, a 25-year Apple veteran, played a key role in developing some of the company’s most iconic products, including the iPod, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. He also helped initiate Project Titan, Apple’s secretive electric vehicle project. More recently, he led the development of future home devices, including exploring robotic and AI-powered products.
At Rivian, Novotney will assume the crucial role of senior vice president of vehicle programs, overseeing product management and engineering. This positions him as one of the company’s most critical executives, tasked with leading Rivian’s product development efforts and competing with market leader Tesla.
Novotney’s departure adds to Apple’s growing list of senior exits, including Tang Tan, vice president of product design for iPhone and Apple Watch, and Steve Hotelling, leader of hardware technologies. This trend has sparked concerns about potential talent drain and its impact on Apple’s future innovation.
While the reasons behind Novotney’s move haven’t been officially disclosed, the opportunity to lead a product at a rapidly growing EV company like Rivian likely played a significant role. Rivian views this hire as a notable win, gaining a seasoned Apple veteran with a proven track record of success in developing innovative hardware products.
The implications of this move are twofold. For Apple, it highlights the ongoing challenge of retaining top talent, particularly amid changing priorities and internal restructuring. For Rivian, it signifies a strategic acquisition of valuable expertise and leadership, potentially accelerating its product development and solidifying its position as a major player in the EV market.
It remains to be seen how these developments will unfold in the long run. Apple’s ability to navigate these leadership changes and maintain its innovative edge will be closely watched. Meanwhile, Rivian’s success in integrating Novotney’s expertise and capitalizing on his talent will be crucial to its competitive trajectory and future growth.
Beyond his contributions to the iPod and iPhone, Novotney’s fingerprints are also on the iPad and Apple Watch. He was tapped by Dan Riccio, former head of hardware, to help lead the iPad’s development, and later joined the Apple Watch project at the behest of Jeff Williams and Jony Ive, playing a crucial role in bringing that game-changing wearable to market.
Novotney’s diverse portfolio and proven ability to execute at the highest levels make him a valuable asset for Rivian, and his departure undoubtedly leaves a void at Apple.