Apple fires director of machine learning over the company’s policy of returning to in-person work

Several reports have surfaced of Apple employees criticizing the company’s return to in-person work policies. Some even resign in favor of a workplace that provides more flexibility or allows them to work remotely full-time. Top-level Apple executives are now being affected by the policy, with Ian Goodfellow being the most recent high-profile departure. Ian led Apple’s machine learning efforts for three years before announcing his release due to Apple’s in-person work policy.
Workplace culture has evolved significantly across many organizations, particularly tech firms in the post-pandemic era. Some well-known companies, including Meta/Facebook, Slack, Twitter, and, most recently, Airbnb, have fully embraced remote work. Meanwhile, tech behemoths such as Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Apple have taken a hybrid approach, requiring employees to work in the office for days per week.
Employees are increasingly skeptical of a return to traditional office life. Some companies have implemented policies to phase out full-time remote work, favoring in-person attendance gradually. Apple‘s hybrid work plan, which went into effect last month, is similar in that it required employees to come to the office at least once a week in April and twice a week beginning May 4.

Apple employees will be required to work in person on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays beginning later this month. Unsurprisingly, some employees have been dissatisfied with this development. The policy has also irritated top-level executives, leading to the departure of Ian Goodfellow, Apple’s director of machine learning.
Goodfellow, known as the father of generative adversarial networks (GANs), was hired by Apple from Google in March 2019 to join Cupertino’s Special Projects Group. In an internal email announcing his departure, Goodfellow stated that he firmly believed that more flexibility would have been the best policy for his team.

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