VP, worldwide corporate communications, Apple
One event dominated the year for everyone involved with Apple or its iconic products: the untimely death of founder Steve Jobs last October, at the much-too-young age of 56.
Katie Cotton had a particularly close relationship with Jobs, acting as his gatekeeper, confidante, and right-hand woman. Under new CEO Tim Cook, there is little sign the dynamic between C-suite and communications chief has altered much. She is still the "voice" of Apple, even if that voice is very much in the background.
With or without Jobs, Apple stubbornly refuses to conform to traditional communications norms, making a feature of its lack of openness that historically contributed to the mystique and air of exclusivity around the brand, as well as some frustration.
Cotton's communications strategy appears unchanged and she will point to the continued commercial success of the company as a sign that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" is a good rule of thumb to go by. Cook recently said that Apple would become "the most transparent company in the world" on issues such as social change, supplier responsibility, and the environment. That, surely, will presage a slightly different communications approach from Cotton.