Apple Inc.'s (AAPL - Get Report) long-serving head of communications is leaving the company, according to a memo cited by various media outlets. 

Steve Dowling, who headed up Apple's communications group after a prior tenure leading corporate PR, told Apple employees that "the time is right" to step away from Apple.

Phil Schiller, Apple's head of marketing, will take over Dowling's duties on an interim basis while Apple looks for a permanent replacement. 

Apple shares closed up $2.07, or 0.94%, at $222.77. They are up 39.75% so far this year. 

Apple is a key holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts Plus portfolio.