MacWorld 2009: Who Would be Apple’s Next CEO?

This MacWorld 2009 expo might be the last one as rumour has it. Recently Apple announced about cancellation of the main event of MacWorld 2009 aka the Keynote of Mr. Steve Jobs. Apple seems to invest heavily in reshaping itself from one man brand to a multi-star show. The chronology of events surely points toward an exit of Mr. Steve Jobs from his role as CEO.

apple ceo hunt

Steve Jobs was indeed star of the show, here is how Gizmodo describes it

In the past, Steve Jobs was always the Star of the Show. Like his dear Johnny Cash, this man in black would come out on stage with an orchestra behind him, enthusing his audience with his voice and inflections, make his magic moves and leave everyone hypnotized until he left the building. He wasn’t the best singer or the best guitar player, but he had it. Like Johnny, he also shared the limelight with others from time to time, but it was only for a song or two. The concerts were always “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash”. The keynotes were always “Hello, I’m Steve Jobs.”

Rumour also has it that company has already hired a team of headhunters to shortlist the candidates for the upcoming vacancy of Apple’s next CEO. But I don’t believe this as what I have read, Apple’s next CEO will likely to be from inside. Steve has been preparing many of his key executives for the post.

Biggest Challenge for Steve Jobs and his new CEO would be to move Jobs’ high profile to the back burner. “He will remain the centre of attention” This is the main issue of concern and because of this same reason many good candidates a few months ago are no longer interested. According to chat room discussion, One of them have been reported to have said:

“When all the major decisions have already been taken, There is not much charm left anymore”

List of People Likely to be Apple’s Next CEO

Charles Jade reports for Ars Technica. He list following people

  1. Philip Schiller, 45, Apple Computer
  2. Timothy Cook, 45, Apple Computer
  3. Tony Fadell, 36, Apple Computer
  4. William Campbell, 65, Intuit
  5. Jerome York, 67, IBM
  6. James Allchin, 55, Microsoft
  7. Susan Decker, 43, Yahoo
  8. John Thompson, 57, Symantec
  9. Jade reports, “The more obvious and likely choices come from within Apple, but the question really isn’t who will replace Steve Jobs. The real question is who will choose the successor, and that will likely be Steve Jobs. Some time after returning to Apple Computer in late 1996, Jobs remarked that he had ‘given Apple to a bozo once,’ and that it wouldn’t happen again. What this means is that the future of the company, like the present, is dependent upon the brilliant and erratic vision of Steve Jobs. Let’s hope he’s in the iPod groove, and not Cube mode, when the next CEO is chosen.”
    Full article with links to McIntyre’s original article which sets up the succession question with pretty specious threat (most on Wall Street and elsewhere don’t think such a threat exists) of Jobs’ ouster due to options “irregularities” here.

Here is another list found at seekingalpha:

Timothy Cook

Apple’s COO and by far highest paid management team member. Cook came aboard from Compaq computers in 1998 and he handles essentially all the nitty gritty for Apple and is an operations maven. He keeps costs under control and manages the balance sheet as well as anyone in the business. There’s probably no one better suited to run the Apple business than Tim Cook, and in fact, it’s likely that he already does, especially after stepping in as interim CEO when Jobs took a leave of absence in 2003. He, however, seems to prefer having Steve Jobs as Apple’s front man, and has stated that he’s not quite so interested in personal visibility. It’s also hard to say how much Cook could contribute as far as continuing to fill Apple’s pipeline of innovative and creative products. Fortune Magazine recently had a terrific article on Cook, which I think, is a must-read for Apple investors.

Joni Ive

The Senior VP of Industrial Design at Apple, Joni Ive has been with the firm since 1996 and reports directly to the CEO. He’s responsible for leading the design of the iMac, iPod, MacBook Pro (both models) and the iPhone. Ive is a good speaker and Steve Jobs has even given him a few chances to present in his stead. That being said, Joni is intensely private. Rumor has it that Apple’s HR doesn’t even know his real birthday. It’s hard to say he would really embrace the role of CEO when he’s already an industrial design superstar. It’s possible that he’d be best suited simply taking an expanded role driving the creative side of the company should Steve Jobs’ step away.

Philip Schiller

The man who will present for Apple at MacWorld Expo this year. Philip Schiller is Apple’s senior VP of marketing and has been for 17 years. He’s ostensibly responsible for greenlighting the now iconic Apple iPod silhouette ads and the Mac vs. PC campaign. He’s a mainstay at Apple informational events and has given presentations for Apple in the past, but can sometimes lack the charisma that Jobs brings to each performance. In fact, he had a rather embarrassing interview during the iPhone launch in London last year. Clearly, he’ll need a bit more practice before stepping into Jobs’ shoes as Apple’s top salesperson let alone as Apple’s top executive.

Ron Johnson

Ron Johnson came to Apple in 2000 after reaching stardom in retail circles at Target. He single-handedly built Apple’s retail presence and created the “Genius Bar” that’s now synonymous with the Apple experience. Interestingly enough, anecdotal evidence claims that Ron pushed several retailing ideas that Jobs was initially resisted and has since earned the credibility to really push retail strategies on his own agenda. Ron is also a very charismatic public speaker and has all the tools to fill in for Jobs as the head of the Company should Apple begin focusing even more on its retail presence.

Tony Fadell

Fadell, former senior VP of the Hardware, left Apple in November along with his wife who was VP of HR. Jobs claims that Fadell will continue to have some role in the company, possibly as a special advisor to the CEO. The story is that he left with his wife to focus on their children, which means it’s a long shot that he’d take on the job of CEO if it were offered to him. However, prior to his departure, many thought Fadell was on the shortlist of potential CEO candidates, since he is, after all, the man who invented the iPod. The little known fact is that Apple’s former senior VP of the iPod division, Jon Rubenstein, bought Tony’s idea after he shopped his idea of a hard drive-based MP3 player linked to a web-based music store throughout Silicon Valley. Fadell went on to head up the engineering team behind the iPhone, as well as the iPod.

World is watching this hiring with same enthusiasm and interest as it watched exit of Bill Gates. Let’s see what comes up next

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