Recent reports reveal that Ian Goodfellow joined Google again weeks later after he departed Apple. Ian previously worked his way up from intern to senior research scientist at Google before leaving in 2016. He worked as Apple’s director of machine learning and quit the company in early May this year over a strict return-to-office policy. Interestingly, weeks after he resigned from the company, the former Apple executive joined Google as a contributor in its DeepMind division. Google’s DeepMind division uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve the company’s products.
Furthermore, the news comes at the heels of Apple reopening its offices. Consequently, the company required all its corporate employees to work from the office three days a week. But, Apple changed it to two days per week because of an increase in Covid-19 cases. Similarly, Google also started its offices, requiring employees to come three days per week. However, the company allows specific employees to work entirely remotely. Thus, this might be the reason Ian Goodfellow instead switched to Google.
Moreover, Ian stated in his goodbye note to colleagues that he quits because of CEO Tim Cook’s strict return-to-office policy. Besides Goodfellow, other Apple employees have also been against the new policy for months. Some even think that Tim Cook would soon demand employees to come to the office five days a week. As a result, many employees suspect that Ian might have got some inside “scoop” about this and left.
Michael Solomon, a tech talent manager, notes that most employers prefer workers eager to work from the office. But, a highly desirable employee, like Ian Goodfellow, Solomon states, has the power to demand flexibility. “If all things are equal, the person in the office might have an advantage. But, if you’re a top performer, I don’t think it makes a bit of difference,” Solomon said.
Additionally, since the former Apple executive surprisingly joined Google only weeks after he quit, it comes close to employee poaching. Plus, among all the big tech companies, Google and Apple have some of the strictest return-to-office policies. Therefore, things like employee poaching between the two rival tech giants shouldn’t be that surprising.