Following a report in the Wall Street Journal claiming that Apple’s senior VP of the iPod division was stepping down, Apple has issued a statement confirming the news, and that his replacement will be former IBM exec Mark Papermaster.In fact, both Fadell and his wife Danielle Lambert (VP of human resources at Apple) are leaving the company, which the statement says is because they plan to “devote more time to their young family”. Fadell will remain as an adviser to CEO Steve Jobs, while Lambert will leave at the end of this year, once her replacement has been found.“Mark is a seasoned leader and is going to be an excellent addition to our senior management team,” says Jobs. “Tony and Dani have each made important contributions to Apple over the past eight years. We’re sorry to see Dani go, and are looking forward to working with Tony in his new capacity.”Papermaster’s role is an interesting one. Analysts have been predicting a slowdown in iPod sales for some time, yet the devices continue to perform strongly – and have been rejuvenated by the iPod Touch in recent times. How the iPod evolves from here, and the impact on it of iPhone, will be intriguing to watch.UPDATE: It looks like IBM and Apple may be heading to court over the poaching of Papermaster, judging by this story on CNET. IBM is apparently suing him to prevent him from joining Apple and giving up power chip and server trade secrets.”Mr. Papermaster’s employment by Apple is a violation of his agreement with IBM against working for a competitor should he leave IBM. We will vigorously pursue this case in court,” says a statement from IBM.

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