Bloomberg, citing informed sources, reported today that Apple’s senior most procurement executive is leaving the company after a viral TikTok video provided an off-color statement in an attempt of humor.

The report indicates that the company’s Vice President of Procurement, Tony Blevins, a 22-year veteran, agreed to an in the moment interview during a car show held in Pebble Beach, California in August with a TikTok content creator. In the interview, an attempt to provide hip remarks included off-color remarks related to female breasts.

After the video was posted, it reportedly garnered over 1.3 million views and became a topic of discussion among company employees and some suppliers, especially in the light of Apple senior executives’ public efforts to champion diversity and the empowerment of women.

Sources indicated to Bloomberg that Apple initiated an internal investigation regarding the incident after a number of procurement and operations employees reported their concerns to the HR department.

Blevins is reportedly one of 30 senior executives that have directly reported to either CEO Tim Cook or COO, Jeff Williams. The executive led an organization that included six direct reports and upwards of several hundred employees. He built a reputation as a tough negotiator with suppliers and partners and has overseen efforts for what was stated as relentlessly driving down costs of critical components utilized in Apple’s products. In short, he had a lot of influence. In 2020, The Wall Street Journal had described his efforts as being “Apple’s chief cost cutter” with the acquired name of “the Blevinator.”

The report citing the same sources indicates it was Williams who made the decision to part ways and Apple confirmed to Bloomberg his pending departure from the company. Bevins himself provided a statement to Bloomberg indicating an apology to anyone who was offended by a mistaken attempt of humor.

COO Williams is noted as now acting as chief procurement executive until another executive is named to this leadership position.


Added Thoughts

In this era of social and mass media amplification, many can often get caught up in the waves of being hip, with it, or basking in a moment of video or recorded stardom.  When in positions of leadership and influence, or for that matter, any occupation or service, publicly stated inappropriate, insensitive or hurtful remarks have little redeeming qualities. Many private industry, media or public officials continue to learn this reality, regardless of their past accomplishments or contributions.



© Copyright 2022, The Ferrari Consulting and Research Group and the Supply Chain Matters® blog. All rights reserved.