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Investor advisory firm calls for Apple to disclose CEO succession plan - Page 4

post #121 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by penchanted View Post

I have no problem shareholders making their concerns heard, I just doubt that this particular proposal accomplishes much.

I would like to see a more diverse board accomplished through adding a couple of directors who are not hand-picked by Jobs. That is actually something I would support but I always wonder if it might not actually create obstacles for success. Then again, Jobs is a good salesman so he could likely persuade those people if the idea is really in the best interest of the company.

Quote:
Originally Posted by penchanted View Post

I think you may be witnessing some of that unwinding right now during Steve's absence. Beyond that, I think even upon Jobs' return, you will see the deputies out front a lot more.

I think that part of the reason that Steve took such a central role was to allow for organizational development to occur without a lot of distractions.

Both of these comments point to the same issue, which to my mind boils down to whether Steve is prepared to become less involved in Apple when the time comes. I don't think it's too much of a reach to conclude that his ego is so completely invested in Apple, that perhaps he's come to believe what people say about Apple and himself being inexorably entwined. We do have a tendency to forget that the man is human, after all. The praise and plaudits can hardly help but going to his head.

This is why I am always on the lookout for signs that the company is taking succession issues seriously. This would include, as you suggested, a more independent board. It also includes being responsive to shareholder's concerns about management in the post-Steve era. In short, the kinds of measures that don't cost the company a dime, but demonstrate both understanding and seriousness of purpose. The fact that we don't see much if any evidence of this occurring, suggests that it's Steve himself who is resisting the inevitable transition. This makes people nervous -- and with good cause, I think.
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post #122 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Both of these comments point to the same issue, which to my mind boils down to whether Steve is prepared to become less involved in Apple when the time comes. I don't think it's too much of a reach to conclude that his ego is so completely invested in Apple, that perhaps he's come to believe what people say about Apple and himself being inexorably entwined. We do have a tendency to forget that the man is human, after all. The praise and plaudits can hardly help but going to his head.

This is why I am always on the lookout for signs that the company is taking succession issues seriously. This would include, as you suggested, a more independent board. It also includes being responsive to shareholder's concerns about management in the post-Steve era. In short, the kinds of measures that don't cost the company a dime, but demonstrate both understanding and seriousness of purpose. The fact that we don't see much if any evidence of this occurring, suggests that it's Steve himself who is resisting the inevitable transition. This makes people nervous -- and with good cause, I think.

Blah blah blah, the same old tired stuff. Steve's ego. Success has gone to his head. Board not "independent". Steve is resisting the transition. Blah blah blah.

Seriously, you are living in fantasy land. Another in a series of posts lacking any foundation in reality. Like many people, your obsessive fixation on Steve Jobs has clouded your reason.
post #123 of 130
Apple isn't just another company. When you invest in AAPL you invest in the management team. I have complete confidence in the board's succession plan, whatever it may be. The company is much much bigger than just Steve Jobs, even as remarkable as he is and Apple would and will survive & thrive without him. To divulge the succession plan would be a catastrophe for the company and the shareholders. Anyone who doubts it should not invest in AAPL.
post #124 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Really? I think you're letting your imagination run wild here. I think it's more likely that the current board was hand-selected because they have the knowledge and experience thought to be most useful to Apple. Again, I think the available evidence indicates that SJ is much less ego driven than most people, and not fixated on some notion of loyalty as some imagine him to be. It seems to me that he's much more driven by the idea of excellence: excellence in the products Apple produces, and excellence in the people that are part of Apple.

I think the idea that any of the directors are overly-loyal to Jobs is mistaken - these are all accomplished business people with their own ideas and egos and a responsibility to Apple shareholders. On the other hand, Steve Jobs did pick each of these people and I am not convinced that Jobs ever seeks out that contrarian voice which is also important. The closest Apple has had to that on it BOD is Jerry York and they need another "money man" like York on the board now - someone who would question the value of hoarding enormous amounts of cash unless there is a specific target or purpose.

I like the last two board picks - Jung and Sugar. Jung brings a wealth of knowledge about marketing and brand loyalty. Sugar understands the needs of an engineering-driven company.

On the other hand, I have a hard time seeing the vision that Al Gore brings to the board (this is not in any way a political statement). I am sure he can sometimes get things done with a few calls but Apple has finally hired a high-profile lobbying firm. Unless he is able to help open new markets, I am just not convinced of his worth. I am somewhat ambivalent about the other board members.

I would like to see a couple of new directors that are recruited outside Jobs sphere of influence - most especially that "money man" I mentioned earlier.
post #125 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Both of these comments point to the same issue, which to my mind boils down to whether Steve is prepared to become less involved in Apple when the time comes. I don't think it's too much of a reach to conclude that his ego is so completely invested in Apple, that perhaps he's come to believe what people say about Apple and himself being inexorably entwined. We do have a tendency to forget that the man is human, after all. The praise and plaudits can hardly help but going to his head.

We will have to agree to disagree on this issue. There is no doubt that Steve has an ego but I think that he shows signs of being seriously humbled by his health issues. I think Steve has far less ego than people believe. You need look only as far as Pixar to see that while Steve was actively involved (especially with the marketing area and in dealmaking), he let Lassiter pretty much run the sow.

Quote:
This is why I am always on the lookout for signs that the company is taking succession issues seriously. This would include, as you suggested, a more independent board. It also includes being responsive to shareholder's concerns about management in the post-Steve era. In short, the kinds of measures that don't cost the company a dime, but demonstrate both understanding and seriousness of purpose. The fact that we don't see much if any evidence of this occurring, suggests that it's Steve himself who is resisting the inevitable transition. This makes people nervous -- and with good cause, I think.

I think Steve cares too much for Apple to let something as important as a succession plan go unattended. Additionally, even allowing for some "fealty" that the board members might have for Steve, I suspect that each and everyone understands the need for succession planning. (It would be interesting to see how succession planning is addressed in each of the board member's companies). But the most solid evidence is that they have already stated that they have a succession plan in place - they have simply chosen not to share the details. This gets right back to the heart of the issue where some say they only want reassurance that there is such a plan (perhaps with certain guidelines in place) when I suspect many of these people are pushing for the specific details (that means names) of the plan.
post #126 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by penchanted View Post

I think the idea that any of the directors are overly-loyal to Jobs is mistaken - these are all accomplished business people with their own ideas and egos and a responsibility to Apple shareholders. On the other hand, Steve Jobs did pick each of these people and I am not convinced that Jobs ever seeks out that contrarian voice which is also important. The closest Apple has had to that on it BOD is Jerry York and they need another "money man" like York on the board now - someone who would question the value of hoarding enormous amounts of cash unless there is a specific target or purpose.

I like the last two board picks - Jung and Sugar. Jung brings a wealth of knowledge about marketing and brand loyalty. Sugar understands the needs of an engineering-driven company.

On the other hand, I have a hard time seeing the vision that Al Gore brings to the board (this is not in any way a political statement). I am sure he can sometimes get things done with a few calls but Apple has finally hired a high-profile lobbying firm. Unless he is able to help open new markets, I am just not convinced of his worth. I am somewhat ambivalent about the other board members.

I would like to see a couple of new directors that are recruited outside Jobs sphere of influence - most especially that "money man" I mentioned earlier.

These are good points. When I say loyalty, I don't mean of the ring-kissing variety. They are all very successful people, in their own ways. But are any of them likely to say "bad idea, Steve" if they really think so? I doubt it. Otherwise, I have no points of major variance with your description of what a board should be, and appears not to be, at Apple.

Quote:
Originally Posted by penchanted View Post

We will have to agree to disagree on this issue. There is no doubt that Steve has an ego but I think that he shows signs of being seriously humbled by his health issues. I think Steve has far less ego than people believe. You need look only as far as Pixar to see that while Steve was actively involved (especially with the marketing area and in dealmaking), he let Lassiter pretty much run the sow.

Perhaps. He also sold Pixar, so that's a point in favor of your argument. Still, I'm not so certain the ego is not more fully engaged at Apple. This is after all the company he cofounded when he was still a very young man, the one he got cast out of, and then came back to and saved in historic fashion. And also the one which will have a much greater impact on forming his personal legacy. You could fill a book (and people have) trying to answer the question "what matters to Steve?" and still not get the full answer, but I think he has always had the completely immodest goal of changing the world. Someone with that sort of messianic objective is going to invest a lot of himself in trying to get there, and is likely to keep pushing towards that goal until their last breath. The implications are at least worth considering.

Quote:
I think Steve cares too much for Apple to let something as important as a succession plan go unattended. Additionally, even allowing for some "fealty" that the board members might have for Steve, I suspect that each and everyone understands the need for succession planning. (It would be interesting to see how succession planning is addressed in each of the board member's companies). But the most solid evidence is that they have already stated that they have a succession plan in place - they have simply chosen not to share the details. This gets right back to the heart of the issue where some say they only want reassurance that there is such a plan (perhaps with certain guidelines in place) when I suspect many of these people are pushing for the specific details (that means names) of the plan.

I agree, not completely unattended. But since nobody has seriously asked for more than generalities, the suggestion that demands for specific details will come if they give an inch of ground, is nothing more than a slippery slope argument. I've never been fond of those.

Anyway, some day, this will all be history -- then perhaps we will know whether mistakes were made which could have been avoided.
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post #127 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

These are good points. When I say loyalty, I don't mean of the ring-kissing variety. They are all very successful people, in their own ways. But are any of them likely to say "bad idea, Steve" if they really think so? I doubt it. ...

And you doubt it because you've seen what goes on in the boardroom? Been reading the minutes of the meetings? Worried about all those disastrous business decisions Apple has made over the last 10 years? You've got all these very certain ideas about how they behave and how irresponsibly they act, but nothing at all to base any of your comments on other than your fantasies of how the Apple board operates. And, no, this succession plan nonsense won't allow you to read the minutes, or even address any of your "concerns". Your position is entirely baseless and irrational, and, in the end, it all comes down to your morbid curiosity to know more about the company's "inner workings" that you expressed at the beginning of the thread.
post #128 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

I've been a large shareholder since 1997. I obviously like a lot of what's been accomplished since then, but that doesn't mean I have to agree with everything the board does. Apple's record on shareholder relations has been pretty shabby on a whole. That's a blemish that they don't need. It's a choice. A poor choice.

The plan and how it would be implemented. This is another area where the board doesn't have to provide details, just some of the generalities. This has been discussed at length in other threads.

Not really. The board is elected by the shareholders and therefore is directly responsible to the shareholders. If the shareholders are dissatisfied with the performance of the board, the board can be thrown out. Things can be changed. It's happened before. What you are really relating is the fact that the board and upper management itself typically controls a substantial number of the voting shares, which allows them to normally ignore the shareholders, unless they are facing some sort of organized shareholder revolt. So the shareholders interests by definition never "conflict" with the interests of the corporation, but they may certainly conflict with the interests of the board. A very different matter, and not to be confused. So what you are seeing here is a large shareholder exercising their voting rights in an effort to change a board policy which is not in the shareholder's interests.

So what I'm saying is, don't do the adoration thing. Just because the board is doing something, doesn't mean it's right for anyone but them.

What about my posts is in anyway indicative of adoration? As opposed to your rather blatant shareholder activist mentality that is unerringly evident. The track record on activist shareholder revolts is spotty at best and the damage done except in those circumstances (of which this is most definitely NOT one) of demonstrated BOD/executive malfeasance has been significant. At this point you and I will have to agree to disagree, because we are from entirely differing viewpoints on this issue. I have sat on directors' boards for a number of lesser organizations and been active in management for a couple of Fortune 50 companies. I have no interest in arguing further about this - you refuse to accept anything other than compliance with the ISS recommendation, which is as has been mentioned by several others as essentially meaningless.

Let me reiterate however and stress the simple fact that the Apple BOD has already stated they have a plan of succession in place. That ISS and you demand to know what it is and to demand that your preferred mechanisms be in place instead of those already implemented is needless and irrelevant meddling in the decisioning of the BOD and the executive. May all our best companies be spared the abject idiocy that is represented by these demands. I instead suggest that the feds limit the amounts of stock of any one company that these pension funds can hold, and ensure that no fund manager can, by virtue of the fund holdings, be able to exert undue influence with other people's money. 'Nuf said. You all can keep trying to drum sense into the good Doctor's head, but it (on this issue at any rate) is thick dense and immoveable.
post #129 of 130
Whatever. Since you've "excused" yourself from discussing anything, I will excuse myself from responding, as you've made it entirely clear how pointless that would be.
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post #130 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by LewysBlackmore View Post

... 'Nuf said. You all can keep trying to drum sense into the good Doctor's head, but it (on this issue at any rate) is thick dense and immoveable.

Well, there's no point in trying to drum sense into his head (on any issue) but it's always a good idea to point out that he doesn't know what he's talking about, just in case some unsuspecting person might think he does.
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