Apple Inc's Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer will retire and hand the reins to Luca Maestri in September, entrusting to the Italian-born executive a cash pile the size of Vietnam's economy and the difficult task of guiding Wall Street's expectations.
The 50-year-old born in Rome is taking over with Apple at a crossroads. Investors continue to clamor for the company to put its industry-leading $160 billion hoard to better use than just parked overseas, while rivals Google and Facebook shell out tens of billions of dollars snapping up cutting-edge tech companies like Nest and WhatsApp.
Managing investors' outsized expectations may become more difficult as Apple - facing slowing revenue growth and more aggressive competition - dives deeper into lower-margin but higher-growth emerging markets like China, where cheaper local players Huawei and Xiaomi dominate.
"Oppenheimer had a very successful run but joined Apple at a time when the personal technology market was focused exclusively on personal computers," said University of Notre Dame visiting professor of marketing Brett Robinson, author of "Appletopia."
"Apple's hiring of Luca Maestri, who has broad international experience, is consonant with Apple's strategy to expand their global footprint."