Steve Dowling, VP, communications, Apple: Power List 2016

2016 rank: 8

Anything Apple does will hit the headlines, because of the iconic nature of the brand and its trailblazing status.

But it is also infuriating for the media to follow, even under the more relaxed leadership of CEO Tim Cook, to whom Steve Dowling reports as head of Apple’s global media relations and communications strategy, its PR team, employee comms and corporate events.

Information is still released on a strictly need-to-know basis and the code of omerta sustains long after the death of founder Steve Jobs. Apple never talks about upcoming products and the power it wields in Silicon Valley persists.

When PRWeek put out feelers to find someone to write a profile of Dowling for this piece, word went straight back to Cupertino and Apple’s press office rang asking if "there was anything they could do to help — off the record, of course."

At least that counts as a proactive reach-out from the Apple comms team, which is a first. As a former CNBC bureau chief, you would imagine Dowling gets it — but his 13 years at Apple have inured him to constant calls by the media for the tech behemoth to open up.

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