Amid the management shakeup happening at Twitter right now, Re/code is reporting that the social network is “close to hiring Natalie Kerris” to lead its communications efforts. 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.”
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.
Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO, 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, Re/code reports that Kerris has been talking to Twitter for some time, and is the leading candidate (the search, headed up by Twitter general counsel Vijaya Gadde has taken months since the company’s former chief of communications, Gabriel Stricker, left last July). Should Kerris accept the job, we could speculate that she sees potential in the company, or is privy to information we aren’t aware of. (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.