Katie Cotton passed away on April 6 after serving as Apple’s vice president of global communications for 18 years before her retirement in May 2014.
According to her obituary, she died away quietly while being “surrounded by family and close friends.” She was perhaps 57 or 58 years old and was born in 1965.
When Jobs return to Apple in 1996, Cotton, a well-known marketing and public relations expert, joined the company. She played a significant role in establishing Apple’s secrecy culture and communications strategy.
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The gatekeeper who managed access to late Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs, Cotton was renowned for her tenacious control over how Apple was perceived in the media.
“We’re deeply saddened by Katie’s passing,” Apple said in a statement to Bloomberg. “She was an extraordinary person and she made countless contributions over the course of her two-decade career at Apple.
Our thoughts are with her loved ones and everyone who had the opportunity to work with her.” Kristin Huguet Quayle has served as Apple’s vice president of global communications since the company’s founding in 2005.
As Macworld contributor Christopher Breen wrote on her retirement back in 2014, Cotton and Apple “largely turned public relations on its head,” with a strategy that saw the company “present products and announcements as special events—which the world at large (and journalists in particular) then clamor to learn more about.”
After her retirement, which she took to spend more time with her family, Cotton has volunteered in regional community organizations to promote children’s mental health education. Ethan and Steve Jobs, as well as her spouse Jim Wells, are her children.
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