Apple just announced in a press release this evening that its Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering Bob Mansfield would retire. Apple’s current vice president of iPad hardware engineering, Dan Riccio, will take over the position during the next several months. Apple CEO Tim Cook had some kind words to say about Mansfield, who has been with the company since 1999.

“Bob has been an instrumental part of our executive team, leading the hardware engineering organization and overseeing the team that has delivered dozens of breakthrough products over the years. We are very sad to have him leave and hope he enjoys every day of his retirement.”

Mansfield has played a huge role in recent hardware releases for the company: since 2008, the SVP has led Mac hardware, and he led hardware for the iPod and iPhone since 201o. He has also led hardware for the iPad since its conception in 2010. It looks like Mansfield will enjoy his retirement, because he sold almost all of his stock just over a year ago and likely plans to retire in Bonny Doon.

Meanwhile, Riccio currently serves as vice president of iPad hardware engineering, and he has been instrumental in all of Apple’s iPad products since the first-generation iPad. Riccio joined Apple in 1998 as vice president of product design, and he has been a key contributor to most of Apple’s hardware over his career. Riccio earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1986.

Check out the full press release after the break:

CUPERTINO, California—June 28, 2012—Apple® today announced that Bob Mansfield, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Engineering, will retire and the role will be transitioned to Dan Riccio, Apple’s vice president of iPad Hardware Engineering, over several months. The entire hardware engineering team will continue to report to Mansfield until his departure.

“Bob has been an instrumental part of our executive team, leading the hardware engineering organization and overseeing the team that has delivered dozens of breakthrough products over the years,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We are very sad to have him leave and hope he enjoys every day of his retirement.”

“Dan has been one of Bob’s key lieutenants for a very long time and is very well respected within Apple and by the industry,” added Cook. “Our hardware engineering team is the best engineering team on earth and will not miss a beat during the transition.”

As senior vice president of Hardware Engineering, Mansfield has led Mac® hardware engineering since 2005, iPhone® and iPod® hardware engineering since 2010, and iPad® hardware engineering since its inception. Mansfield joined Apple in 1999 when Apple acquired Raycer Graphics, where he was vice president of Engineering. Mansfield earned a BSEE degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 1982.

Riccio currently serves as vice president of iPad Hardware Engineering and has been instrumental in all of Apple’s iPad products since the first generation iPad. Riccio joined Apple in 1998 as vice president of Product Design and has been a key contributor to most of Apple’s hardware over his career. Dan earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1986.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.