“There’s a poem on a wall at Apple Computer’s headquarters that starts like this: ‘Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.’ The poem, once part of an Apple commercial, is an ode to people who, to use Apple’s term, ‘think different.’ But it could be just as much about Apple and its founders, who started the company on April Fool’s Day, 1976 – kicking off the personal computer revolution. Three decades later, founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak are billionaires. Apple’s sprawling campus here is a far cry from the local Homebrew Computer Club where the two hippies showed their first PC to their friends,” Bob Keefe writes for Cox News Service. “Apple’s award-winning designs for its iPods and curvy computers, of course, don’t even resemble the wooden-box prototype Apple I that got it all started. Apple nonetheless remains the round peg in the square hole of the computing industry, and – to the surprise of many who once predicted its demise – is in better shape than ever.”
“Apple’s biggest problem in the future may be Jobs himself. The chief executive’s control and influence over the company is legendary. Jobs is part of every major product design, and his vision and touch are on everything Apple does publicly,” Keefe writes. “‘Steve is the one thing no other company can duplicate,’ says Gartner analyst Van Baker. Yet despite Jobs’s importance to the company, Apple has said little publicly about plans for a successor when he quits or dies. Increasingly, such a plan may be needed. Jobs turned 51 in February. Two years ago he survived what was first thought to be a fatal form of pancreatic cancer. And after selling his Pixar Animation Studios to Walt Disney, Jobs is Disney’s biggest shareholder and a director – positions expected to take some of his attention away from Apple. ‘There’s definitely kind of a tragedy in the brewing here,’ says Roger Kay, analyst and president of Endpoint Technologies Associates, a consulting firm. Other tech companies have clear succession pictures. But who can even name another top executive at Apple besides Jobs?”
“Apple spokesman Steve Dowling says the company has a succession plan but it is confidential. About the only clue Apple has given publicly about who might replace its co-founder came when Jobs chose chief operations officer Tim Cook to run things for the month or so he was recovering from cancer surgery. Cook is a long-term Apple employee,” Keefe writes. “Regardless of who might succeed Jobs, Apple won’t be the same without him, says Rakesh Khurana, a Harvard professor who has studied CEO succession.”
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: We don’t know about the CEO position per se, but the public face of Apple should be someone with a love of design, who strives for perfection, who can express ideas clearly and passionately, and who has charisma on-camera and in public. The public face of Apple after Steve Jobs should be Jonathan Ive. (See related article below.)
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What happens when Steve Jobs dies? – August 20, 2003