Apple Wiki
Apple Wiki
Debi Coleman Apple

Coleman at Apple Computer

Deborah Ann "Debi" Coleman (January 22, 1952October 15, 2021) was a business executive who served as the Chief Financial Officer of Apple Computer from 1986 to 1988.[1]

Early life and education[]

Coleman was born in Cumberland, Rhode Island in January 1952 to John A. Coleman and Joan M. (Primeau) Coleman.[2] She earned a bachelor's degree in English literature from Brown University in 1974 and received her M.B.A. from Stanford University in 1978.[1] Coleman also received an honorary Ph.D in engineering from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1987.[3]


Coleman worked at Hewlett-Packard for 3 years from 1978.[1]

Apple Computer[]

In 1981, Coleman was hired by Apple Computer co-founder Steve Jobs as financial controller of the Macintosh division. In 1984, she was transferred at her request to manage the operation of Apple's manufacturing plant in Fremont, California.[1] Her subordinate, Susan Barnes, took over as controller of the Mac division. In 1985, Coleman and Barnes helped Jobs to get Apple to acquire a 19.99% stake in Adobe Systems, the developer of PostScript.[4]

In March 1986, Coleman became the Chief Financial Officer of Apple Computer, reporting to CEO John Sculley. In December 1988, she took a leave of absence to focus on her health, and publicly discussed her battle with weight control. Her CFO role was filled by Senior VP Al Eisenstat.[1] Coleman returned in July 1989 as Vice President of Finance, responsible for tax and treasury.[5] She left Apple in 1992 after 11 years with the company.[6] Coleman stated that she considered Joanna Hoffman to be her mentor there.[7]

After Apple[]

Debi Coleman Merix

Coleman at Merix

Coleman joined Tektronix in 1992 to become its vice president of technology and materials.[8] She became CEO of Merix Corporation upon its spinoff from Tektronix in March 1994 until October 1999; she remained on as Chairman of the Board through September 2001. Coleman then became the managing partner of SmartForest Ventures, and was an advisor to PacRim Venture Partners, Utah Ventures, and Alexander Hutton Ventures.[3][8]

Coleman founded Rain Day Productions in 2008 to support performing arts in Oregon. She produced the stage adaptation of Leap of Faith which opened on Broadway in April 2012.[9]


Coleman passed away in October 2021 and is buried in the Coleman family lot at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Cumberland, Rhode Island.[2][10]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Apple Computer Official To Take 5-Month Leave by Lawrence M. Fisher, The New York Times. 1988-12-08.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Debi A. Coleman, 2021-10-30.
  3. 3.0 3.1 10 women who made Apple great by Jonny Evans, Computerworld. 2016-03-08
  4. Apple's origins: An oral history from inside the loop by Shara Tibken, CNET. 2019-04-01.
  5. Deborah Coleman Back at Apple, Computer Business Review. 1989-07-13.
  6. Angela Ahrendts will be Apple's only female executive by Julianne Pepitone, CNN Money. 2013-10-15.
  7. What Joanna Hoffman told Kate Winslet while shooting the 'Steve Jobs' movie by Oscar Raymundo, Macworld. 2015-11-04.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Debi Coleman, Oregon tech executive and former Apple CFO, dies at 69 by Mike Rogoway, The Oregonian. 2021-10-15.
  9. Broadway adventure for Portland's Debi Coleman is, aptly, 'Leap of Faith' by Allan Brettman, The Oregonian. 2012-04-28.
  10. Deborah A. Coleman, Find a Grave. Accessed 2024-02-29.

External links[]