Monday, 5 January 2009

Apple must urgently address the succession issue

(By Richard Holway) My hero Steve Jobs – CEO of Apple – issued a statement today saying that his weight loss was due to a ‘hormone imbalance’ and not due to a recurrence of his cancer as many had feared. Apple shares are up nearly 5% in early trading as result.

I was quoted in The Times today/5th Jan 09 Apple boss Steve Jobs reveals mystery illness and vows to stay on as follows:

Richard Holway, the chairman of TechMarketView, the industry analysts, said: “The real problem is that there was no succession plan in place at Apple, so rumours that he was terminally ill had a bigger effect on Apple than at other companies. They need someone with the same charisma and drive as Jobs, but at the moment there doesn’t seem to be anybody at Apple who can take over."

And that’s the rub. Steve Balmer was chosen as Bill Gates successor at Microsoft ages before he had to assume that mantle. Like him or loathe him, Balmer is a ‘big character’ and you would never turn down an opportunity to hear him speak. But who is there at Apple that could possibly fill Jobs’ shoes? Philip Schiller, Timothy D. Cook and Jonathan Ive are suggested but none of them have Jobs charisma.

Jobs will stand down as CEO at some time. Maybe even in 2009. Apple must address the succession issue urgently.

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