Apple security chief is out
Updated: (9:40 a.m., Nov. 7, 2011): AllThingsD, an online news site owned by the Wall Street Journal, has confirmed that John Theriault has left Apple. The company says he is retiring, but sources close to the company have told AllThingsD that last summer's controversial investigation into a missing iPhone prototype is the real reason he has left.
John Theriault, VP of global security for Apple, has left the technology company in the wake of a controversial investigation of a missing iPhone 4S that created some messy headlines over the past few months, according to 9 to 5 Mac, a website that covers Apple-related news.
In his position, Theriault would have been in charge of investigations concerning the theft of intellectual property, and it was one such investigation this summer that is being cited as a reason for his departure.
Here's the recap: In July, an Apple employee apparently lost a prototype of the yet-to-be-released iPhone 4S at a San Francisco tequila bar, according to CNet, which broke the story in late August. Apple investigators reportedly tracked the missing phone to a single-family home in San Francisco's Bernal Heights neighborhood using the phone's GPS tracking device. Apparently, the Apple investigators arrived at the home with officers from the San Francisco Police Department in tow. The homeowner said only the police officers identified themselves, according to SF Weekly. The homeowner denied knowing anything about the phone, but let the Apple investigators inside to perform a search, believing they were police officers, SF Weekly reported. To muddy the waters even more, the SFPD initially denied knowing anything about the investigation or home search, though later acknowledged it did send officers to accompany Apple investigators to the home, according to SF Weekly.
The phone was never reportedly found, at the home or otherwise, and Apple has been quiet on the subject ever since. The incident and subsequent investigation generated some bad publicity for the technology company, as well as claims of wrongdoing by the Apple investigators for allegedly leading the homeowner to believe they were police officers and by the SFPD for not properly reporting a search of a citizen's home, according to SF Weekly.
The investigation and the resulting public relation backlash has been cited as the reason for Theriault's departure, according to 9 to 5 Mac.
Theriault became Apple's VP of global security in 2007 after spending 11 years as Pfizer's chief security officer, according to his LinkedIn profile. Prior to Pfizer he spent 26 years with the FBI.