John Paczkowski reports for Recode that the long-time exec is retiring:
She’s long been among the company’s most powerful executives and played a key role in shaping the mystique and exclusivity surrounding the Apple brand. Her departure from Apple is a milestone. “Katie has given her all to this company for over 18 years,” Apple spokesman Steve Dowling said in a statement. “She has wanted to spend time with her children for some time now. We are really going to miss her.” Reached for comment, Cotton told Code/red her decision to leave Apple was among the most difficult of her career. “This is hard for me,” she said. “Apple is a part of my heart and soul.”
This tweet says it all from my perspective.
See also: John Gruber’s piece on his impressions of Cotton.