Apple Japan marketing VP Yoshiaki Sakito, widely credited for successfully promoting the iPod in Japan, left the company July 10, an Apple Japan spokesperson confirmed Thursday (July 13).

Apple Japan marketing VP Yoshiaki Sakito, widely credited for successfully promoting the iPod in Japan, left the company July 10, an Apple Japan spokesperson confirmed Thursday (July 13).

Apple senior VP of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller will take over Sakito's duties until a permanent replacement is found.

The departure of Sakito, who some media sources say is planning to set up his own venture firm, comes as rivals such as Sony are becoming increasingly aggressive in their efforts to challenge the iPod's dominance of the portable digital music player market.