Update on February 22, 2016: Former Apple PR executive Natalie Kerris is joining Twitter. The original article, published on January 28, has been updated to reflect the news.
Twitter officially announced that former Apple PR executive Natalie Kerris will be joining the company as vice president of Global Communications. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted the welcome note today, while Kerris tweeted she’s “thrilled to join the amazing leadership team.”
— Jack (@jack) February 22, 2016
— Natalie Kerris (@nataliekerris) February 22, 2016
Re/code had reported unconfirmed rumors in January that the social network is “close to hiring Natalie Kerris” to lead its communications effort. Kerris would take over from Gabriel Stricker, who was fired after Dorsey returned as CEO. With four top Twitter executives departing, a recent round of layoffs, and stagnant growth, bringing Kerris on board could help the company better communicate its plans and values, for now and the future. Perhaps no major technology company handles public relations and marketing, including crisis PR, better than Apple, making Kerris an ideal executive for the job. During its recent earnings call, Dorsey said that his focus in 2016 would be on recruiting important talent.
Kerris spent 14 years at Apple before retiring last year, and helped launch many of the company’s important products and initiatives, including the Apple Watch, and worked alongside Apple’s late CEO, Steve Jobs. According to Re/code, Kerris was “one of the top public relations and communications staffers at Apple.”
Dorsey said the departing execs “chose to leave,” according to Re/code. That doesn’t bode well for the company’s future, considering executives have better inside knowledge of a company’s operations. However, Kerris’ arrival could help the company better communicate the company’s plans. Re/code reported that Kerris had been talking to Twitter for some time, and was the leading candidate (the search, headed up by Twitter general counsel Vijaya Gadde, has taken months since Stricker left last July). It helps that Kerris is an active Twitter user, as Daring Fireball’s John Gruber points out.
“If it all works out, Kerris and (Twitter CMO Leslie Berland) will be working closely together for what is a big job, of course, to turn around the perception that Twitter has not innovated its product enough and that it has too much exec turmoil,” writes Re/code’s Kara Swisher. “Both are most definitely pros, so CEO Jack Dorsey will have made a pair of strong picks to help him do that.” Swisher says neither Kerris or Twitter have responded to her request for comment.
Kerris announced her retirement from Apple last April, tweeting, “It’s time to move on and see what adventures life holds for me next.” Kerris was in the running to succeed longtime head of PR, Katie Cotton, for a VP of communications role. It’s thought that her decision to leave was prompted by her losing the role to colleague Steve Dowling.