Allison Johnson, Apple’s vice president of worldwide marketing communications, is leaving the company for greener pastures, sources told John Paczkowski who broke the news on The Wall Street Journal’s Digital Daily blog. She played an important role in Apple’s worldwide advertising and reported directly to Steve Jobs, the man known for tight control of Apple’s marketing department.

No bad blood is brewing between Apple and Johnson as a result of her departure, sources said. The marketing whiz worked for the company since 2005, coming from Hewlett-Packard. Sources claim she’s leaving to start a new PR agency with Brandee Barker, a former Facebook PR person:

Sources said Johnson will begin work at the venture after negotiating her departure from Apple, which is likely to come sometime before the summer. Beyond that, the details are slim. The new firm doesn’t yet have a name or a client list, although presumably answers site Quora and social buying service Groupon, two of Barker’s current clients, would sign on with the venture.

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There’s nothing unusual to see a marketing expert depart a company like Apple.

I’ve seen it happening a lot in this industry.

Journalists leaving publishers to work as spokespeople for the companies they used to cover.

Most of them at some point leave their PR jobs, some due to burn out and others to start PR firms of their own.

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