Apple to put a bigger focus on India by making it a separate region
According to people with knowledge of the matter, Apple Inc. is reshuffling the management of its international businesses to focus more on India, a sign of the country’s growing importance.
The change will mark the first time that India has become its own sales territory for Apple, which has seen a surge in demand in the country. The Asian nation will gain prominence inside the tech giant, according to the people, who asked not to be identified as the move was not announced.
Apple is making changes after its vice president of India, Middle East, Mediterranean, Eastern Europe and Africa – Hughes Asseman – recently retired. With his departure, the iPhone maker is promoting its India head, reported Assmann. That executive, Ashish Chowdhary, will now report directly to Michael Fenger, Apple’s head of product sales.
A spokesperson for the company declined to comment.
The company posted record revenue in India last quarter even as its total sales declined by 5%. Apple has created an online store to serve the region and plans to open its first retail outlet in the country later this year. On the last earnings call, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said the company is “pushing heavily on the market” and compared the current state of its operations in India to its early years in China.
“In essence, we’re taking what we learned years ago in China and how to measure for China and bringing it to bear,” he said. China currently generates approximately $75 billion per year for Apple, making it the company’s largest sales region after the US and Europe.
Apart from serving as a sales engine for Apple, India is becoming even more important for the company’s product development. Bloomberg News reported that major suppliers are moving to the region, and Apple is working with manufacturing partner Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., also known as Foxconn, to set up new iPhone production facilities in the country.
The latest changes will affect Apple’s management structure but not the way it reports regional sales in public financial results. In those statements, the company has included India as part of its Europe category, along with the Middle East and Africa. It also breaks down four other regions: Americas, Greater China, Japan, and Rest of Asia Pacific.
Esemann’s departure is part of a surge in executives leaving the company in recent months. Apple’s vice president in charge of subscription services quit earlier this year, and its cloud chief plans to depart next month. Last year, top executives in charge of industrial design, procurement, parts of software and hardware engineering, privacy, information systems and the online store announced their withdrawal.
Aseman, a more than two-decade veteran of the company, splits his time between Apple’s office in London and its base in Cupertino, California. He started as a marketing manager handling the Mac and iPod lines. He later led the retail teams before becoming Apple’s head of iPhone sales for Europe and other international markets in 2011. Asman started his latest role in 2015 and retired late last year.
Apple’s sales and international teams are split between Fenger and Doug Beck, another vice president. Fenger oversees hardware, services and enterprise sales globally, while Beck is in charge of the health, education and government sectors. Both executives report to Cook, but neither is featured on Apple’s website alongside the CEO’s other direct assistants.