Apple director of machine learning quits because of the company's return-to-work policy, report says

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Apple director of machine learning quits because of the company's return-to-work policy, report says
Tim Cook in November 2021.Mario Tama/Getty Images
  • An Apple director told staff he was leaving because of the company's strict return-to-work policy.
  • Apple is making employees work in the office twice a week and will require three days on May 23.
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A machine learning director at Apple is leaving because of the company's return-to-work policy, according to The Verge reporter Zoë Schiffer.

Ian Goodfellow, who has been with Apple since early 2019 according to his LinkedIn profile, wrote to his staff to break the news.

"I believe strongly that more flexibility would have been the best policy for my team," Goodfellow said, according to Schiffer.

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Neither Apple nor Goodfellow immediately responded to a request for comment.

Apple started requiring its workforce to return to the office at least one day a week beginning on April 11.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook told staff in a memo reported by Bloomberg that three weeks after that date, employees would then be required to work in the office two days a week. By May 23, they'll need to work in the office three times a week on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, he said.

"In the coming weeks and months, we have an opportunity to combine the best of what we have learned about working remotely with the irreplaceable benefits of in-person collaboration," Cook said in the memo, according to Bloomberg. "It is as important as ever that we support each other through this transition, through the challenges we face as a team and around the world."

Like the rest of Silicon Valley, Apple shuttered its office in early 2020, but has been more stringent about preparing for a return to the office than some of its peers. The company has since taken a strong stance against continued remote work post-pandemic.

Since mid-2021, Apple has said it would eventually require its workforce to come in three days a week when its office eventually opened. Shortly after, 80 Apple staffers sent a letter to Cook pushing back on the mandate.

"Without the inclusivity that flexibility brings, many of us feel we have to choose between either a combination of our families, our well-being, and being empowered to do our best work, or being a part of Apple," the letter read.

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And another Apple manager told Insider in November that he was leaving the company in part because of its strict remote work rules.

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