Apple home devices, car veteran DJ Novotny exits for top Rivian auto product role

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Apple Inc., which led work on home appliances and helped launch efforts to develop the electric vehicle. The veteran is leaving for Rivian Automotive Inc., marking another senior departure for the iPhone maker, according to people with knowledge of the matter, who informed colleagues of his departure on Friday. thing He will become senior vice president of vehicle programs at Rivion, a maker of electric SUVs and pickup trucks, and will report to Chief Executive Officer RJ Scaring, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing undisclosed matters.

Novotny, who has worked at Apple for nearly 25 years, is known as a senior lieutenant to many of the company's top hardware engineering executives. He was instrumental in the development of several generations of the iPod and iPhone and was tapped by former hardware chief Dan Riccio to lead development of the iPad, the people said.

“What we do best is great products, and I've been very fortunate to be a part of many amazing teams that have developed everything from the iPod, iPhone, iPad, Watch and more,” Novotny wrote in a memo to colleagues. Bloomberg saw it. “Apple is my life, but now it's time for me to step up and help bring new products to life.”

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Novotny also helped bring the Apple Watch to market, brought into the project by Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams and former head designer Jony Ive. About a decade ago, Novotny was one of a handful of executives tapped to launch Apple's efforts to develop an electric vehicle — a project codenamed Titan.

Amid a re-organization of the car project after persistent setbacks a few years ago, Novotny became a senior executive to develop future home devices, including robotics and artificial intelligence spaces. Apple has explored a HomePod with a display that can be swiveled by a robotic arm, Bloomberg News reported.

Rivian sees the mercenary as a major coup. Novotny is one of about a dozen senior vice presidents who will start at the company on Monday. In his new role, he will lead product management for products and engineering, making him one of the company's most critical executives.

The previous executive in charge of Rivian's Scary's development, Nick Kalaizian, stepped down to take on the head of production role, Bloomberg News reported in November. Kalaijian is leaving the carmaker this year and Novotny will take over many of his responsibilities.

Spokespeople for Apple and Rivian declined to comment. Novotny did not respond to a request for comment.

For Cupertino-based Apple, the move marks another departure in the senior ranks. Tang Tan, Apple's vice president of product design for the iPhone and Apple Watch, is leaving the company next month for Ive design firm Lovefrom, after hardware technologies leader Steve Hotelling left late last year. In 2022 and 2023, it lost other executives in hardware, operations and services.

Irvine, Calif.-based Rivian has emerged as a leading contender among a handful of EV startups chasing market leader Tesla Inc. It manufactured two consumer models – battery-electric pickups and sport utility vehicles called the R1T and R1S. The company is Inc. also makes a battery-electric delivery van for and recently announced that it is freeing itself from exclusivity to sell last-mile product to others.

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