- Apr 12, 2001
The Wall Street Journal reports that some member of Apple's board of directors have informally been exploring possibilities for CEO succession should Steve Jobs permanently step down from his position.
Jobs has taken several medical leaves of absence over the past few years, the most recent of which began in January and has continued indefinitely. Jobs has however, made several public appearances at Apple media events to introduce new products.
The report notes that Apple's directors have long taken executive succession plans seriously, routinely holding private sessions at every board meeting to discuss the topic and update plans.Since Steve Jobs went on medical leave this winter, some members of Apple Inc.'s board have discussed CEO succession with executive recruiters and at least one head of a high-profile technology company, according to people familiar with the matter.
The conversations weren't explicitly aimed at recruiting a new chief executive and were more of an informal exploration of the company's options, said these people. The directors don't appear to have been acting on behalf of the full board, some of these people said.
Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook, who has been in charge of Apple's day-to-day operations in Jobs' absence, is still considered to be a top candidate for the job, but directors are understandably exploring all options and reaching out to multiple channels in order to help make the most informed decision possible.Apple's independent directors take succession planning seriously, said a person familiar with the board's thinking. This person said Apple's independent board members discuss management succession in private sessions without Mr. Jobs held at every board meeting for the past 12 years.
"It's best practice,'' this person noted. "Everybody in the room is sworn to secrecy as to what it [the succession] plan is."
The report suggests that at least some of the external discussions have been initiated by recruiters themselves, although the talks are said to have progressed beyond the routine contact directors normally have with such firms. Jobs has of course given no indication that he plans to step down permanently, and so discussions appear to so far be informal and preparatory in nature should the situation change.
Article Link: Apple Directors Informally Exploring CEO Succession Possibilities