Apple’s privacy chief set to leave the company for a law firm

Jane Horvath, who first joined Apple in 2011, is taking a job at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the move has not been publicly announced. Horvath recently informed Apple’s legal department of his plans in an internal memo.

She is stepping down from a role that has become increasingly central to Apple’s strategy. Horvath, who took on the title of chief privacy officer last year, has been the face of the company in promoting its safeguards, alongside chief executive Tim Cook. The tech giant touted features like on-device processing and web tracking prevention, as well as stricter ad policies on apps that have been controversial.

Apple, which has not named a replacement, did not respond to requests for comment.

Privacy has become a central part of Apple’s marketing efforts, and Horvath has represented the company in its dealings with trade groups and Capitol Hill. She was also responsible for Apple’s compliance with global privacy rules, such as the GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation, in the European Union.

Horvath was one of the few Apple executives to hold a “chief executive” title, a group that includes chief operating officer, chief compliance officer and chief financial officer. In her role, she reported to Apple’s general counsel, Kate Adams.

A lawyer by training, Horvath served as Apple’s senior director of global privacy before taking her current title. She rose to prominence within the company after a clash with the FBI in 2016 over whether to unlock the iPhone of a shooting suspect. Apple refused, saying the move would create a backdoor that would compromise iPhone security. The government eventually unlocked the device without help from the company.

Horvath joins a law firm that has represented Apple on a number of matters over the past few years. Gibson Dunn recently led Apple’s legal efforts in its fight against Epic Games Inc. over App Store commissions.

Prior to Apple, Horvath oversaw privacy efforts at Google, Alphabet Inc. and the US Department of Justice.

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