Apple has announced that Dr. Wanda Austin, former president and CEO of The Aerospace Corporation, has been nominated for election to Apple’s board of directors.
The tech giant says she brings decades of science and technology experience to her role, and she has a significant track record of advancing innovation and shaping corporate strategy.
As president and CEO of The Aerospace Corporation,Austin led an organization dedicated to supporting the U.S. space program and expanding opportunities for future exploration. She was the first woman and the first African American to hold the position.
“Wanda has spent decades advancing technology on behalf of humanity, and we’re thrilled to welcome her to Apple’s board of directors,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a press release. “She’s an extraordinary leader, and her invaluable experience and expertise will support our mission of leaving the world better than we found it.”
“Wanda has long been a leader in unleashing the potential of cutting-edge technology,” added Arthur Levinson, the chair of Apple’s board of directors. “She brings incredible insights and experience to our board, and she will play an important role in helping Apple continue enriching users’ lives around the world.”
“Like Apple, I’ve always believed in the power of innovation to improve lives, support human potential, and shape a better future,” Austin said. “I’m honored to join Apple’s board of directors, and I look forward to being part of a company that’s always creating new ways to empower people all over the world.”
The board has a longstanding policy that directors generally may not stand for reelection after reaching age 75. As a result, Al Gore, who has served since 2003, and James Bell, who joined in 2015, will both retire from Apple’s board this year.
Austin began her tenure at The Aerospace Corporation in 1979, when she joined as a member of the organization’s technical staff. Over the following decades, she took on a wide range of new roles and responsibilities, including program management and major customer-facing systems management. From 2008 to 2016, she served as the organization’s president and CEO.
From 2018 to 2019, Austin was the interim president of the University of Southern California. She serves on the board of Amgen, and also serves on the board of Chevron, where she is the lead independent director. She served on the board of Virgin Galactic, the spaceflight company, from 2019 until 2023.
Austin is also a leading advocate for STEM education. Her book, Making Space: Strategic Leadership for a Complex World, explores the leadership principles she learned during her decadeslong journey as an engineer and space industry executive.
Austin earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Franklin & Marshall College in 1975, and a master’s in civil engineering and mathematics from the University of Pittsburgh in 1977. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in industrial and systems engineering from the University of Southern California in 1988.