While talking with AllThingD's Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg at D11: All Things Digital, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that Apple has hired former Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa Jackson to lead the company's environmental responsibility efforts.
Lisa Jackson is joining Apple. Lisa was running the EPA for the last four years. She's going to be coordinating a lot of this activity across the company.
Although Cook said he forgot what her official title is, he said that she would report directly to him. Cook announced the hire after talking about how Apple has gotten more attention from governments as it has grown larger and while he was talking about how environmentally friendly Apple is.
As a part of its commitment to being environmentally friendly, Apple revealed in March that it had achieved 100% renewable energy use at its data centers, with its corporate facilities using 75% renewable energy. Cook's full commentary can be found in our coverage, available here.
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At best, a questionable hire with significant PR risk for Apple:
-Jackson created false identities (non-government email accounts) while Secretary of the EPA to carry on communications with outside groups. Some presume this was to avoid discoverability and/or compliance with the Freedom of Information Act. She abruptly resigned as Secretary of the EPA just as this investigation was getting started. This was not just using personally identifiable non-government accounts, but creating false identities to conduct official business (one name used was Richard Windsor).
-She also oversaw the EPA during the contentious raids on Gibson Guitars, where EPA regulations were selectively used to confiscate $5M worth of inventory from Gibson (while other guitar companies using the same wood had no action taken against them). This incident is being reexamined in the light of the current IRS scandals and evidence of political targeting by the IRS (Gibson's CEO is a donor to right-wing causes).
-Apple is already an industry leader in the area of environmental responsibility in manufacturing. Hiring a lifelong government employee is not likely going to bring a significant skill set beyond what Apple already has in house. It has the feel of a hire made to generate buzz. Hopefully, for Apple, none of the issues above will turn into full blown scandals, but if they do, Apple will find itself cast on one side of the ideological fence (something SJ always wisely avoided).
-Her compensation package will need to be justified to shareholders.
-This makes Cook look even more impulsive regarding high-level hires than he already did in light of the Browett decision. Not confidence inspiring.
And you fell for the hoax that it's a hoax. ;)