Apple executive Tony Blevins out after TikTok’s crude remarks

(Bloomberg) — One of the most senior executives of Apple Inc. is leaving after he appeared in a viral video on TikTok making a joke that he has no color who respects “big breasted women” for a living.

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In the video, published on September 5, TikTok and Instagram creator Daniel Mac caught up with Apple’s Tony Blevins as part of a series in which he asks expensive car owners about their careers. Mac stopped the performance as he parked a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, an out-of-production sports car that fetches hundreds of thousands of dollars.

When asked what he does for a living, Blevins said, “I have rich cars, I play golf and I like women with big breasts, but I take weekends and big holidays off.” He added that he has a “hell of a dental plan”.

Actually, Blevins is Apple’s vice president of procurement and is in charge of striking deals with suppliers and partners. He recently worked on the company’s satellite agreement with Globalstar Inc., led cellular modem negotiations with Qualcomm Inc. and Intel Corp., and has led the way in reducing the costs of many critical parts that go into Apple’s mobile devices.

After an internal investigation into the matter, Blevins’ team — which included about a half-dozen direct reports and hundreds of employees — was removed from leadership, according to people familiar with the matter.

Blevins, a 22-year Apple veteran, confirmed the incident to Bloomberg, saying the encounter happened on August 18. he said.

An Apple spokesman said Thursday that Blevins is leaving the Cupertino, California company.

Blevins was part of a group of about 100 vice presidents at Apple and one of about 30 executives who report to CEO Tim Cook or Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams. Williams was Blevins’ boss for much of his career, though he briefly reported to Sabih Khan, Apple’s senior vice president of operations, according to the people.

It was Williams’ decision for the company and Blevins to part ways, one of the people said. The chief operating officer will oversee Blevins’ old staff, at least for now, according to the person.

The TikTok video was taken at a car show Blevins attended last month in Pebble Beach, California. His comments in the 25-second clip refer to a line from the 1981 film Arthur, where the main character Arthur Bach describes his own career: “I race cars, I play tennis and I play women, but I have weekends off and I’m a boss myself “

​​​​The video received more than 40,000 likes on Instagram and 1.3 million views on TikTok. After the clip was published, several members of Apple’s operations and procurement team reported it to the human resources department, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. The company then launched the investigation, they said.

The video has become the subject of debate among Apple employees in recent weeks, with some expressing outrage at his comments — especially since other executives, including Cook and Williams, have publicly supported workforce diversity. and women’s empowerment – according to the people. The video has also begun to circulate among the employees of some of the company’s central suppliers.

Blevins’ departure opens a void at Apple. He has been central to the company’s success over the past two decades, according to employees familiar with his work, helping Apple fatten its profit margins and gain access to core technologies before competitors. He could be difficult to replace, given his understanding of Apple’s supply chain and his negotiating skills, they said.

The Wall Street Journal described him as Apple’s chief cost-cutter in a 2020 feature story, calling him “The Blevinator”.

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