Apple executive who left the company over work-in-person policy now returns to Google

Earlier this month, Apple machine learning director Ian Goodfellow left the company over his disagreement with the in-person work policy. It now appears that Goodfellow is returning to Google, the company he worked at before joining Apple.

Bloomberg has heard from sources familiar with the matter that Goodfellow has agreed to accept a position at DeepMind, Google’s artificial intelligence-focused division. However, the company has yet to confirm the hiring. However, this isn’t the first time Goodfellow has worked with Google.

Before being hired by Apple in 2019, the engineer worked for Google, where he was responsible for machine learning and artificial intelligence projects. He was known as “the father of General Adversarial Networks, or GANs”, which is technology used to generate media content – including “deepfakes”.

After three years in Cupertino, Goodfellow decided to leave Apple. In a memo to his team, Goodfellow wrote that he firmly believes “more flexibility would have been the best policy for my team,” referring to Apple’s policies that are primarily against working from home.

A few Apple employees began returning to in-person work last month, and all employees are expected to return to the office three times a week starting May 23. However, a group of employees criticized the company for not being flexible when it comes to working remotely. Google, on the other hand, allows its employees to explore flexible work options.

Last year, several Apple executives also left the company due to Apple’s back-to-office policy.

Apple postpones in-person work requirements

Although Apple planned to require employees to return to offices in a few days, the company again had to postpone these requirements. However, the decision has more to do with the growing number of COVID-19 cases than employee demands.

Employees will still have to return to work in person, but only two days a week. Additionally, Apple will again require everyone to wear face masks in common areas.

Unfortunately, if Apple doesn’t change its mind when it comes to working remotely, it will likely lose other talent, especially when other Silicon Valley companies are much more flexible in this regard.

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