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Apple’s machine learning chief quits over return-to-office policy

Apple Inc’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) director of machine learning, Ian Goodfellow, is reportedly leaving the tech giant after more than three years due to its return-to-office policy. From May 23, Apple employees are expected to work three days a week in the office. Goodfellow, various media have reported, left a note to staff saying, “I believe strongly that more flexibility would have been the best policy for my team.” He had been at Apple since 2019 as director of machine learning in its special projects group, and before that worked as senior staff research scientist at Google.  Apple announced its plans to reopen its offices in March, when Cook sent a memo to employees who had been working from home during the pandemic that they should return to work from April 11 in staggered shifts.  Cook’s memo said employees were required to work at least one day per week in the office from that date, rising to three days from 23 May. In the memo, Cook acknowledged that the return might be “an unsettling change” for some, but a “long-awaited milestone” and “positive change” for others.  He stressed Covid-19 guidelines would apply to the reopened locations and that flexible and hybrid working options would continue to be offered. Similar plans have been announced by other tech giants to reopen their offices though companies are split over hybrid or fully flexible models. Like Apple, Google is rolling out a hybrid policy where employees work three days in the office and two days remotely. Twitter is also considering a future where staff can work in the office, remote or in a hybrid arrangement.