Katie Cotton, Apple’s longtime PR chief retired on Friday after 18 years in Cupertino. Much of her time at the company, she was a handler for late cofounder Steve Jobs. She will be stepping down as Apple’s vice president of worldwide corporate communications to spend more time with her family. Re/code’s Kara Swisher revealed in an essay covering Cotton’s career at Apple, that she would be heading for the door as soon as the workday was over. Her retirement announcement was publicized in early May, however, there was no set date.

Cotton was not a figure of positive light in the media due to her aggressiveness of Apple and control over the company’s information. She was called derogatory names, even though Swisher noted that PRs at other big-name firms receive the same kind of treatment. Cotton had a low profile for someone who was one of the most powerful executives at Apple. Her operating style was to be selective in what types of statements were issued along with being very tight-lipped about everything. Journalists would try to pry any information out of her about the company, but she would take care of all the controversies extremely well.

Steve Dowling, Apple spokesperson, announced Cotton’s departure and plans. Rumors also have it that he will be running to replace the PR chief. Another candidate running for the position includes Natalie Kerris- both Kerris and Dowling have been with the company for over 10 years.

According to Cotton, “this is hard for me. Apple is a part of my heart and soul.”

Source: Re/code