Apple executive rejoins Google over remote work policy

Google sign above a glass entrance to a building
(Image credit: Google)

An Apple executive who left the company over its strict return-to-work policy is reportedly set to join Alphabet’s DeepMind.

Ian Goodfellow oversaw machine learning and artificial intelligence at Apple and left the company recently due to a lack of flexibility in its workplace policies, according to Bloomberg. Apple had been planning to require corporate employees to work from the office for three days a week, beginning this month. However, this deadline has now been put on hold.

DeepMind will be bringing Goodfellow on as an individual contributor, with the new hire known as a key machine learning researcher. He’s the most senior employee known to leave over Apple’s office working policy.

Goodfellow was a director of machine learning within Apple’s Special Projects Group and supervised engineers working on autonomous technology. The director level is one of Apple’s most senior levels, with the company containing around 1,000 directors out of a total of 170,000 employees. He is credited with creating generative adversarial networks (GANs) which allow computers to accurately create images or data sets, making research more effective.

The former Apple employee has worked for Google in the past. Goodfellow was a senior staff research scientist from November 2018 to March 2019, and a staff research scientist from March 2017.

Apple employees have complained about the push to return to the office, explaining they’re more productive at home and that remote work saves time and energy that would be spent commuting.


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“Everything happened with us working from home all day, and now we have to go back to the office, sit in traffic for two hours and hire people to take care of kids at home,” a different former Apple employee told Bloomberg last month.

The rule to have employees work from offices three days a week may be changing, however. This was adopted in April and was meant to go into effect from 23 May onwards. Yesterday, the tech giant told employees that the deadline had been delayed for the time being, but workers are still expected to be in the office for two days a week.

Alphabet’s return-to-office policy is said to be more relaxed than Apple’s, as it has approved exemptions for most employees seeking to work from home. However, it is unclear what DeepMind’s remote work policies are. It’s currently hiring for several positions at its office in London, and the job postings do not mention any form of hybrid or remote work available as part of the roles. IT Pro has contacted DeepMind for comment on this.

Zach Marzouk

Zach Marzouk is a former ITPro, CloudPro, and ChannelPro staff writer, covering topics like security, privacy, worker rights, and startups, primarily in the Asia Pacific and the US regions. Zach joined ITPro in 2017 where he was introduced to the world of B2B technology as a junior staff writer, before he returned to Argentina in 2018, working in communications and as a copywriter. In 2021, he made his way back to ITPro as a staff writer during the pandemic, before joining the world of freelance in 2022.