CUPERTINO, CA: Katie Cotton, VP of worldwide corporate communications at Apple, is planning to leave the company.
Cotton, who was ranked number one on PRWeek's Power List in 2010 along with late Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs, confirmed Wednesday that she is stepping down from her role after nearly two decades at the company.
"All I will say is that this is very hard for me," Cotton said, via email. "Apple is part of my heart and soul."
She added that her children will become teenagers in a few years, and she wants to spend time with them.
Cotton did not disclose who will succeed her at Apple on either an interim or long-term basis. Other Apple representatives were not immediately available for comment.
In addition to the top spot on PRWeek’s Power List four years ago, Cotton made the rankings again numerous times, including in 2012, following Jobs’ death in October 2011 at age 56 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
She was also named to CNNMoney’s list of 50 Most Powerful Women in 2010, which noted that she "played a role in some of the most buzzed-about product launches in technology," as well as her gatekeeper duties for Jobs. A 2011 profile of Apple executives by the website noted that "wherever Jobs is, Cotton isn’t far away."
Apple has seen numerous executive departures in recent months, including CFO Peter Oppenheimer, who announced in March that he will retire in September, and human interface director Greg Christie, who plans to leave at the end of the year.
During Cotton’s 18 years at Apple, she worked with various PR agencies, such as Niehaus Ryan Wong, Bite, and Edelman, before ultimately bringing all communications in-house.