Apple Names New HR Head

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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has named a new human resources leader as the company increasingly seeks to hang on to talent that is being poached by tech competitors and startups. According to a report from Bloomberg, Apple has promoted Denise Young Smith, who was formerly a leader in Apple’s retail store business, to the head of the company’s human resources department.

Currently holding the top human resources position is Joel Podolny, who is moving to focus all of his efforts on Apple University. Podolny, a former dean at the Yale School of Management, created Apple University under the guidance of Steve Jobs to help train the company’s managers. Smith was in charge of human resources for Apple’s stores, which employed 42,800 out of Apple’s 80,300 total employees in the last fiscal year, according to Bloomberg’s calculations.

“We are excited that Denise Young Smith will expand her role to lead Apple’s worldwide human resources organization,” Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet wrote in an email to Bloomberg. “Apple University is an increasingly important resource within the company as we continue to grow, so Joel Podolny will be focusing full-time on developing and scaling the university he helped establish.”

Human resources is an important area for Apple to focus on, as competitors like Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) vie with Apple for the same top Silicon Valley engineering talent. Apple is also a popular place for startups to find new talent, as well. Apple ranked 35th on Glassdoor’s list of the best places to work for 2013, coming in behind both Google and Facebook, which ranked eighth and fifth, respectively. Smith will be responsible in helping create a positive work environment that will help Apple hold on to its employees.

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