Apple’s return to work policy leads to the departure of a potential ML client

Apple has faced a lot of employee rejection due to its recent return to personal work. Numerous reports show that some employees have even left the company because of politics, opting for a job that is more accepting of telecommuting.

Now, The Verge’s Zoë Schiffer reports that Ian Goodfellow, Apple’s director of machine learning, has left the company because of its return to work policy.

Apple’s personal work policy is leading to the departure of high profile

Apple arrested Goodfellow from Google back in 2019 to join his “Special Projects Group” as director of machine learning. Goodfellow spent more than six years as Google, starting as a software engineering intern before becoming a “Senior Staff Research Scientist” at the time of his departure for Apple in March 2019.

Goodfellow is called “the father of general rival networks or GANs.” This technology can be used to generate fake media content, which has become increasingly important in recent years.

However, just three years after joining Apple, Goodfellow is now leaving the company due to a return to work policy. In a letter to staff, Goodfellow wrote: “I firmly believe that more flexibility would be the best policy for my team.”

Apple employees began returning to personal work on April 11 after two years of telecommuting due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Apple is gradually approaching its plan to return to work. Initially, the company required employees to work in person at least one day a week. On May 4, the company increased this to two days a week in the office.

From May 23, employees will have to be in the office three days a week. This is the beginning of Apple’s so-called “hybrid” work plan, which will require employees to work from the office on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays every week.

Goodfellow’s former employer Google has ordered some teams to return to personal work starting last month, but many employees can work permanently from home. Apple has reportedly given some flexibility to individual teams, allowing managers to adjust policies as they see fit. However, this does not seem to have been the case for the Goodfellow team.

While a number of Apple employees have reportedly left the company due to its insistence on personal work, Goodfellow’s departure is by far the most notable case reported publicly. Whether we’ll hear about some more high-profile departures remains to be seen.

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