Fortune

APPLE REBOOTS IN CHINA

FACING FALLING SALES IN A KEY MARKET, THE IPHONE MAKER TURNS TO STAR ENGINEER ISABEL GE MAHE TO LEAD A TURNAROUND.
STATUS SYMBOL The entrance to an Apple Store in Shanghai.

SHE WAS PROMISED dinner. In early 2008, Apple CEO Steve Jobs asked Isabel Ge Mahe over to his house to talk and share a meal. The invitation was part of Apple’s ongoing effort to recruit Mahe, who at the time was vice president of wireless software engineering at Palm Inc. The engineer-on-the-rise was hesitant to make a move. “I had built the wireless technology team for Palm pretty much from the ground up, and, at the time, we were trying to revive the Palm brand,” she says. Jobs, unsurprisingly, was unwilling to take no for an answer. So he decided to make his pitch in person. Mahe was impressed with how “down-to-earth” the late Apple cofounder was face

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