Re/code reports today that Apple has chosen longtime Apple PR deputy Steve Dowling to lead Apple’s public relations efforts as interim PR chief. The report notes that Dowling’s role as head of Apple PR is not yet permanent as Apple continues to look for candidates outside of the company.

Sources close to Apple tell Code/red that Dowling was tapped as interim head of public relations last week by CEO Tim Cook. […] Dowling’s appointment has been framed to employees as an interim one and I’m told Apple will continue to evaluate worthy outside candidates if one should pop up. That said, the fact that Cook has officially put Dowling at the top of Apple’s PR organization suggests he could remain there.

9to5Mac Happy Hour

Apple’s former longtime head of Apple PR Katie Cotton announced her retirement from the company earlier this year with her last day in the role taking place at the end of May.

Since her departure, Apple CEO Tim Cook has reportedly been searching for a ‘friendlier, more approachable’ candidate to lead the company’s public relation efforts rather than opting to promote a successor from within the company.

Steve Dowling, Natalie Kerris, & Trudy Miller

Steve Dowling, Natalie Kerris, & Trudy Miller

Steve Dowling and Natalie Kerris, both PR deputies previously under PR head Katie Cotton, have reported to Tim Cook since Cotton’s departure in May, as we previously reported:

Some sources opined that Dowling is “smarter than Katie,” and suggested that he would be a good fit to replace her. Dowling is said to be “close” friends with Tim Cook, and Cook is said to have referred to Dowling as such during internal meetings. Cook and Dowling are often seen together, in part because of Apple’s policy of using PR staff to guard key executives.

Re/code reports that Apple has confirmed Dowling’s new role at the company, although his specific title was not shared. 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman extensively profiled Apple’s public relations team in a well-documented series earlier this year.

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