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Investor advisory firm calls for Apple to disclose CEO succession plan - Page 3

post #81 of 130
I said:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sacto Joe
And are these other companies also far more successful than Apple? They must be, if you want Apple to emulate them. Names, please, of these phenomenally successful companies?

You responded:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Let's try some relevant question instead. Are these other companies led by CEOs who are widely considered to be inseparable from the company's success, and who have also been on medical leave three times? Have these companies exposed themselves to competitive threats by disclosing something about their succession planning to shareholders?

Anyway, more debunking, posted in full for the click-disabled....

I saw the names in the article. I just couldn't believe you were comparing them to Apple. If you had bought the stocks of your "superior" companies (American Express, Verizon, and HP) five yeaes ago, Amex and Verizon would have gained you zero. HP did a little better, gaining 42%.

And then there's Apple, gaining 527% over the last five years.

Pull the other one, "Doctor".
post #82 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetzel1517 View Post

By the way, here's the actual resolution - it doesn't ask for specific names. What's the problem with this?

RESOLVED: That the shareholders of Apple, Inc. [sic] (“Company”) hereby request that the Board of Directors initiate the appropriate process to amend the Company’s Corporate Governance Guidelines (“Guidelines”) to adopt and disclose a written and detailed succession planning policy, including the following specific features:
  • The Board of Directors will review the plan annually;
  • The Board will develop criteria for the CEO position which will reflect the Company’s business strategy and will use a formal assessment process to evaluate candidates;
  • The Board will identify and develop internal candidates;
  • The Board will begin non-emergency CEO succession planning at least 3 years before an expected transition and will maintain an emergency succession plan that is reviewed annually;
  • The Board will annually produce a report on its succession plan to shareholders.

There are at least a few things wrong with it.

1. What exactly is supposed to be in this annual report? That's really the whole crux of the issue, so, as is, the entire resolution is completely stupid.

2. While this reads like an HR Director's wet dream, the second item is just that, HR bullshit (redundant phrase, I know, but...) The third item is likewise just more HR bullshit-speak -- "identify and develop internal candidates", yeah, like Apple doesn't know who its top people already are. The rest, not surprisingly, smacks of more HR bullshit-speak.

What bunch of morons drew up this resolution? Oh, right, the idiots over at Institutional Shareholder Services. I think their shareholders ought to demand a succession plan that's implemented immediately.
post #83 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetzel1517 View Post

The pension fund owns Apple stock, which has shown to be pretty volatile when news comes out concerning the health of Steve Jobs. They probably think a succession plan would stabilize things and protect their investment.

They're wrong.
post #84 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetzel1517 View Post

By the way, here's the actual resolution - it doesn't ask for specific names. What's the problem with this?

RESOLVED: That the shareholders of Apple, Inc. [sic] (Company) hereby request that the Board of Directors initiate the appropriate process to amend the Companys Corporate Governance Guidelines (Guidelines) to adopt and disclose a written and detailed succession planning policy, including the following specific features:
  • The Board of Directors will review the plan annually;
  • The Board will develop criteria for the CEO position which will reflect the Companys business strategy and will use a formal assessment process to evaluate candidates;
  • The Board will identify and develop internal candidates;
  • The Board will begin non-emergency CEO succession planning at least 3 years before an expected transition and will maintain an emergency succession plan that is reviewed annually;
  • The Board will annually produce a report on its succession plan to shareholders.

What part of "The Board will develop criteria" and "The Board will identify...internal candidates" DOESN'T meddle with the board's existing process, whatever that might be?

And how is "The Board will annually produce a report on its succession plan to shareholders" NOT demanding the names and qualifications of those "candidates"?

Why are you screwing with the goose that's laying golden eggs? As a stockholder, I thoroughly resent it!
post #85 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sacto Joe View Post

... And how is "The Board will annually produce a report on its succession plan to shareholders" NOT demanding the names and qualifications of those "candidates"? ...

Well, it doesn't say anything about the nature of the "report", so, an annual statement that they have fulfilled their succession planning duties would seem to satisfy that part of the resolution.
post #86 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetzel1517 View Post

Has anyone actually READ the shareholder proposal? It doesn't require Apple to name any names - merely to tell people what their plan would be for finding one among internal candidates. What's the problem with that? Tons of companies do that.

Exactly. It's a perfectly reasonable request, not radical, not weird, not unusual, not destructive -- but we wouldn't want to confuse any of this debate with facts.
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post #87 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Exactly. It's a perfectly reasonable request, not radical, not weird, not unusual, not destructive -- but we wouldn't want to confuse any of this debate with facts.

Except, if it's interpreted in the tongue-in-cheek manner that I did in my previous post it's meaningless.

If it's interpreted along the lines of,

Quote:
... adopt and disclose a written and detailed succession planning policy, including the following specific features ... will develop criteria ... which will reflect the Companys business strategy and will use a formal assessment process to evaluate candidates ... identify and develop internal candidates ... annually produce a report

it's basically saying, "we expect you to tell us annually your business strategy and what potential CEO candidates you are considering and why," which is naming names and is totally stupid. If you don't interpret it that way, then, again, it's essentially meaningless.

But, there you go again, saying you support this but not saying exactly what you think it would mean in terms of what exactly Apple would be reporting. So, do you even know what it is you are so wholeheartedly supporting? Do you even know what you think you are supporting?
post #88 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Except, if it's interpreted in the tongue-in-cheek manner that I did in my previous post it's meaningless.

If it's interpreted along the lines of,



it's basically saying, "we expect you to tell us annually your business strategy and what potential CEO candidates you are considering and why," which is naming names and is totally stupid. If you don't interpret it that way, then, again, it's essentially meaningless.

But, there you go again, saying you support this but not saying exactly what you think it would mean in terms of what exactly Apple would be reporting. So, do you even know what it is you are so wholeheartedly supporting? Do you even know what you think you are supporting?

Many other companies disclose CEO succession plans - Verizon, HP, Comcast, Whole Foods... I could go on. NONE OF THEM are required to name specific candidates. If you read the text of the resolution, you can see if provides the company a ton of wiggle room, but also forces enough action that the company will be prepared in some way if there's a planned or emergency departure by the CEO. It's just making the company tell its shareholders, "Be cool, we got this" (and back up that assertion) the next time there's a scare.

All this talk about nefarious forces trying to "undermine" Apple reeks of paranoia.
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post #89 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetzel1517 View Post

Many other companies disclose CEO succession plans - Verizon, HP, Comcast, Whole Foods... I could go on. NONE OF THEM are required to name specific candidates. If you read the text of the resolution, you can see if provides the company a ton of wiggle room, but also forces enough action that the company will be prepared in some way if there's a planned or emergency departure by the CEO. It's just making the company tell its shareholders, "Be cool, we got this" (and back up that assertion) the next time there's a scare.

All this talk about nefarious forces trying to "undermine" Apple reeks of paranoia.

Who said anything about nefarious forces, besides you, that is? I'm pretty sure the people behind this are well intentioned idiots. In the end, though, does it matter? It's a stupid idea that's either meaningless or dangerous, as even you admit.

If anyone really believes that the board doesn't "got this", they should be moving to replace the board. I mean, seriously, who believes the board is that stupid? This is about people with an inflated sense of self-importance thinking they are entitled to detailed information on the "inner workings" of Apple.
post #90 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Who said anything about nefarious forces, besides you, that is? I'm pretty sure the people behind this are well intentioned idiots. In the end, though, does it matter? It's a stupid idea that's either meaningless or dangerous, as even you admit.

If anyone really believes that the board doesn't "got this", they should be moving to replace the board. I mean, seriously, who believes the board is that stupid? This is about people with an inflated sense of self-importance thinking they are entitled to detailed information on the "inner workings" of Apple.

Several in this thread have raised the idea that this is actually part of some effort to deliberately undermine Apple. Perhaps they didn't use the word "nefarious" but that wasn't my point - I did put "undermine" in quote marks because that word was actually used upthread.

The proposal isn't asking for names. It's not asking for disclosures on Jobs' health. It just demands reasonable evidence that the company is prepared in the event Jobs steps down or is unable to continue his duties. Plenty of other companies do this. Hell, plenty of other companies have agreed to disclose this information, even without a shareholder vote. I don't see how it can hurt Apple. I do see how it can provide reassurance and confidence to investors. What's the downside?
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post #91 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetzel1517 View Post

The proposal isn't asking for names.

How many people have to say that they don't agree that it's not asking for names before you admit that it's arguable at best whether or not it is? And beyond that, what about the other portions where they clearly stick their oar in and demand the Board do things their way?

BTW, do you own any appreciable (say 100+) shares of Apple? I do. If you don't, then kindly b--- out of this conversation.
post #92 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetzel1517 View Post

... The proposal isn't asking for names. It's not asking for disclosures on Jobs' health. It just demands reasonable evidence that the company is prepared in the event Jobs steps down or is unable to continue his duties. Plenty of other companies do this. Hell, plenty of other companies have agreed to disclose this information, even without a shareholder vote. I don't see how it can hurt Apple. I do see how it can provide reassurance and confidence to investors. What's the downside?

See my post above. There are two ways to interpret this proposal: one meaningless, the other (which does require naming names, otherwise, we're back to meaningless) stupid. If it's stupid, then it's stupid. If it's meaningless, why waste the boards time with such nonsense.

Again, anyone who thinks the board is so stupid or so negligent that they aren't on top of this already, should be pushing to have the entire board removed, not wasting the current boards valuable time with creating paperwork for shareholders, or, in the stupid case, undermining their own stock value. But, I'm sure there will be plenty of dumb shareholders who will vote for this. Hopefully, there will be enough who recognize it for the utter nonsense that it is.
post #93 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Exactly. It's a perfectly reasonable request, not radical, not weird, not unusual, not destructive -- but we wouldn't want to confuse any of this debate with facts.

Still waiting for an answer to my question....
post #94 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sacto Joe View Post

... BTW, do you own any appreciable (say 100+) shares of Apple? I do. If you don't, then kindly b--- out of this conversation.

Well, I own exactly zero shares of Apple stock. However, as a customer, I'd rather not have the hands of the people running the company tied behind their backs, or bound up in ridiculous red tape. Selfish of me, but I'd prefer that the idiots leave them to the work of producing great products.

Well, plus, the whole idea that the board isn't already on top of this is just stupid, and there's no value in sharing those plans, in any form, with shareholders, and I just hate stupid.

Edit: Oh, yeah, the argument that other companies have done it is simply stupid too.
post #95 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sacto Joe View Post

Still waiting for an answer to my question....

Apparently, he isn't answering questions. No doubt because once he commits himself, it'll take anyone about 2 seconds to tear his reasoning to shreds, although, he'll never admit they did.
post #96 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetzel1517 View Post

Several in this thread have raised the idea that this is actually part of some effort to deliberately undermine Apple. Perhaps they didn't use the word "nefarious" but that wasn't my point - I did put "undermine" in quote marks because that word was actually used upthread.

The proposal isn't asking for names. It's not asking for disclosures on Jobs' health. It just demands reasonable evidence that the company is prepared in the event Jobs steps down or is unable to continue his duties. Plenty of other companies do this. Hell, plenty of other companies have agreed to disclose this information, even without a shareholder vote. I don't see how it can hurt Apple. I do see how it can provide reassurance and confidence to investors. What's the downside?

As you can see, statements of logic and facts are not welcomed here. Implicit -- no, actually explicit in some cases -- is the argument that Apple is exceptional, and consequently exempted from standards of good corporate governance. So by this means, you can instantly cancel out the fact that other public companies do what is being requested of Apple, as a normal matter of course. The counterargument can't be backed up by anything but feelings, so that's what we get. And accusations, too.

Apple has a lot of strengths, but corporate governance has never been one of them. That's why they were caught up in a SEC investigation over the backdating of option grants. That's why they were criticized as having too many interlocking board members. But if you mention any of this, the entire exceptional and infallibility argument is what you'll get in response. That, and pretty much nothing else you can actually discuss rationally. You hear about how Apple is perfect, how they just couldn't possibly do anything better, and how you should just shut up about how they could.

Sigh.
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post #97 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

See my post above. There are two ways to interpret this proposal: one meaningless, the other (which does require naming names, otherwise, we're back to meaningless) stupid. If it's stupid, then it's stupid. If it's meaningless, why waste the boards time with such nonsense.

So the only two ways to interpret this just happen to be ones that prove your point? Apparently, "This proposal asks for a reasonable amount of disclosure on the part of the board in relation to a topic that is of importance to shareholders and relevant to the company's continued success," isn't a valid view to you. But that's my interpretation; I'll admit there could be others. Perhaps even more than two.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sacto Joe

How many people have to say that they don't agree that it's not asking for names before you admit that it's arguable at best whether or not it is? And beyond that, what about the other portions where they clearly stick their oar in and demand the Board do things their way?

All shareholder proposals "demand the Board do things their way." Should they therefore all be rejected if the board doesn't like them?
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post #98 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sacto Joe View Post

Still waiting for an answer to my question....

Your question was not relevant to the issue. I said that ages ago.
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post #99 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Apparently, he isn't answering questions. No doubt because once he commits himself, it'll take anyone about 2 seconds to tear his reasoning to shreds, although, he'll never admit they did.

He's got a good mind. It's just that he can be so inflexible sometimes. BTW, your comments seem unusually level-headed for the most part.
post #100 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Your question was not relevant to the issue. I said that ages ago.

That's your opinion, not mine. I've explained why I think it is relevant and you haven't refuted my explanation other than by a perfunctory dismissal.

It may not be intentional, but it's sounding increasingly like you're evading the question.
post #101 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

As you can see, statements of logic and facts are not welcomed here. Implicit -- no, actually explicit in some cases -- is the argument that Apple is exceptional, and consequently exempted from standards of good corporate governance. So by this means, you can instantly cancel out the fact that other public companies do what is being requested of Apple, as a normal matter of course. The counterargument can't be backed up by anything but feelings, so that's what we get. And accusations, too.

Apple has a lot of strengths, but corporate governance has never been one of them. That's why they were caught up in a SEC investigation over the backdating of option grants. That's why they were criticized as having too many interlocking board members. But if you mention any of this, the entire exceptional and infallibility argument is what you'll get in response. That, and pretty much nothing else you can actually discuss rationally. You hear about how Apple is perfect, how they just couldn't possibly do anything better, and how you should just shut up about how they could.

Sigh.

Actually, this comes a lot closer to a real response to my contention than anything else you've said. Wish you'd said it to me.

I'll try to simplify: I am of the opinion that Steve Jobs is still controlling things at Apple on the level of issues like these, and doing so with an iron fist. And as I said in a separate post on this thread, not only do I think he's completely engaged in this issue, but I think it's of utmost importance to him.

Therefore, I think it's best to let him handle it.

In a nutshell.
post #102 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

As you can see, statements of logic and facts are not welcomed here. Implicit -- no, actually explicit in some cases -- is the argument that Apple is exceptional, and consequently exempted from standards of good corporate governance. So by this means, you can instantly cancel out the fact that other public companies do what is being requested of Apple, as a normal matter of course. The counterargument can't be backed up by anything but feelings, so that's what we get. And accusations, too.

Apple has a lot of strengths, but corporate governance has never been one of them. That's why they were caught up in a SEC investigation over the backdating of option grants. That's why they were criticized as having too many interlocking board members. But if you mention any of this, the entire exceptional and infallibility argument is what you'll get in response. That, and pretty much nothing else you can actually discuss rationally. You hear about how Apple is perfect, how they just couldn't possibly do anything better, and how you should just shut up about how they could.

Sigh.

Wow, talk about evading questions with a red herring. The argument is that this shareholder proposal is stupid because it, depending on how it's interpreted, is either a) entirely meaningless and has no value, or b) dangerous because it reveals publicly information of strategic importance to competitors. It has nothing to do with whether Apple is exceptional or not, other than that I'd like them to remain so, and you apparently just want to know their "inner workings" as some sort of ego trip.
post #103 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sacto Joe View Post

Actually, this comes a lot closer to a real response to my contention than anything else you've said. Wish you'd said it to me.

I'll try to simplify: I am of the opinion that Steve Jobs is still controlling things at Apple on the level of issues like these, and doing so with an iron fist. And as I said in a separate post on this thread, not only do I think he's completely engaged in this issue, but I think it's of utmost importance to him.

Therefore, I think it's best to let him handle it.

In a nutshell.

Actually, I said it once before, so this was a repetition of the earlier point, with expansion. Your argument that it's All About Steve is stronger in supporting my point than anything I've said so far. In fact it encapsulates the fears many have about Apple's leadership, that's it's far too centered on one person, a person who's been very ill, and who may or may not be replaceable. This makes the case powerfully FOR a more transparent succession policy, not against it. That is, unless the board believes that the image of Apple's future dangling from a thin thread is good for stockholders. Tell me, should Apple really be All About Steve?
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post #104 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Actually, I said it once before, so this was a repetition of the earlier point, with expansion. Your argument that it's All About Steve is stronger in supporting my point than anything I've said so far. In fact it encapsulates the fears many have about Apple's leadership, that's it's far too centered on one person, a person who's been very ill, and who may or may not be replaceable. This makes the case powerfully FOR a more transparent succession policy, not against it. That is, unless the board believes that the image of Apple's future dangling from a thin thread is good for stockholders. Tell me, should Apple really be All About Steve?

It's difficult to believe anyone imagines apples future dangles from a thin thread.
post #105 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

... Your argument that it's All About Steve is stronger in supporting my point than anything I've said so far. ... This makes the case powerfully FOR a more transparent succession policy, not against it. ...

Really? Assuming, purely for the sake of argument that it is, "All About Steve", how will greater transparency in and of itself lead to better succession planning? It won't, because transparency adds absolutely nothing.
post #106 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Actually, I said it once before, so this was a repetition of the earlier point, with expansion. Your argument that it's All About Steve is stronger in supporting my point than anything I've said so far. In fact it encapsulates the fears many have about Apple's leadership, that's it's far too centered on one person, a person who's been very ill, and who may or may not be replaceable. This makes the case powerfully FOR a more transparent succession policy, not against it. That is, unless the board believes that the image of Apple's future dangling from a thin thread is good for stockholders. Tell me, should Apple really be All About Steve?

Let's pretend that Steve Jobs has been, and remains, King of Apple. But it's a weird sort of monarchy, because the throne cannot pass to the Prince, there being none. Instead, when the King's reign ends (hopefully by stepping down from the throne and not by his passing), it probably won't even continue to be a monarchy. But the King, being both wise and beneficent, indeed passionately interested in the continued welfare of the kingdom after he leaves, is STILL KING. And for his own reasons, he has not chosen to reveal the details of how he plans to protect the kingdom in the event of his permanent absence.

Because the reality is, WE DON'T KNOW how long Steve Jobs will be around nearly as well as he does. His present leave of absence could be nothing more than a recharging of his batteries. That's the way it worked out last year, you may recall.

And frankly, there's a competitive advantage to Apple for this information to remain secret, especially if he is indeed simply recharging.

I don't know how long you've followed Apple, or in how much detail, but I've followed them for more than a quarter of a century. My wife even worked for them in the not too distant past, in a supervisory capacity. And all that experience convinces me of three things: First, that Steve Jobs knows what he's doing, second, that he cares deeply about Apple's future, and third, that Apple is far more than the reflection of one man. If it were not, it never would have survived his first absence.

I'm content, therefore, to leave this issue of "what happens After Steve" in the hands of Steve and the Apple Board. This time, we need to let Steve Jobs play his hand out.
post #107 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctor David View Post

It's difficult to believe anyone imagines apples future dangles from a thin thread.

A slight overstatement perhaps, but only slight. Over and over again, we hear how "Apple is Steve," and even when that concept is qualified with "they have a deep bench," the initial idea that the man and the company are inseparable stands as the take-away point. Has for years now. Nothing on that front has really changed yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sacto Joe View Post

Let's pretend that Steve Jobs has been, and remains, King of Apple. But it's a weird sort of monarchy, because the throne cannot pass to the Prince, there being none. Instead, when the King's reign ends (hopefully by stepping down from the throne and not by his passing), it probably won't even continue to be a monarchy. But the King, being both wise and beneficent, indeed passionately interested in the continued welfare of the kingdom after he leaves, is STILL KING. And for his own reasons, he has not chosen to reveal the details of how he plans to protect the kingdom in the event of his permanent absence.

Because the reality is, WE DON'T KNOW how long Steve Jobs will be around nearly as well as he does. His present leave of absence could be nothing more than a recharging of his batteries. That's the way it worked out last year, you may recall.

And frankly, there's a competitive advantage to Apple for this information to remain secret, especially if he is indeed simply recharging.

I don't know how long you've followed Apple, or in how much detail, but I've followed them for more than a quarter of a century. My wife even worked for them in the not too distant past, in a supervisory capacity. And all that experience convinces me of three things: First, that Steve Jobs knows what he's doing, second, that he cares deeply about Apple's future, and third, that Apple is far more than the reflection of one man. If it were not, it never would have survived his first absence.

I'm content, therefore, to leave this issue of "what happens After Steve" in the hands of Steve and the Apple Board. This time, we need to let Steve Jobs play his hand out.

The flaw in your argument is that Steve is not King, he's an employee of a public corporation. As the saying goes, the King is not always right, but he's always the King. That's no way to run a company. Being a CEO not about fealty it's about performance. The more we think of Steve having this extraordinary (and by your description, outsized) role in the company, the more difficult it becomes to think of how they move forward without him, as they surely must someday (later rather than sooner, we all hope).

We're getting away from the point, though. Seeing as Steve is not King, and not infallible, I don't think it's beyond the pale for stockholders to suggest methods for them to improve on their governance policies. Not especially when they are hardly radical suggestions, but rather completely ordinary and commonsense ones.

FWIW, I'm an Apple old-timer too. I've been through Steve I and Steve II, and all the in-betweens. None of this history has convinced me that any man is a god, who can claim with a straight face that nothing he does can ever be questioned. I hope to hell that Steve himself does not believe that.
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post #108 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

A slight overstatement perhaps, but only slight.

No, it's hyperbole at best. Apple couldn't be in a better position for the future in comparison to just about any tech company out there.
post #109 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

The flaw in your argument is that Steve is not King, he's an employee of a public corporation.

It was a metaphor. Look, I have nothing against "suggestions" for improvements. But these actions are much stronger than mere suggestions.

Frankly, Steve may be frail, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with his mind. And I am convinced that he cares deeply about Apple's future. Therefore, as CEO, he will continue to recieve my wholehearted support, including (and maybe especially!) when it comes to the question of when and how to step down or protect against the worst case scenario. My argument against this sort of stockholder uprising is that it's misplaced, it's assuming the worst.

Steve Jobs has been, and continues to be, a gift to those of us who have tied a substantial part of our livelyhood to Apple. I for one intend to appreciate that gift and welcome its continuation, hopefully for some time to come.
post #110 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchell_pgh View Post

I don't agree. The problem is, regardless of how competent the next CEO is, it won't be Steve Jobs. The person may be smarter, more of a presence on stage, have a better understanding of technology, etc. but when Jobs is gone, he is gone and the worst thing Apple could do is to try and replace the person.

I've seen it happen in sports. A veteran coach leaves... and the next guy fails. It happens because the fans are trying to compare people, styles, etc. and not the position. It's also a wonderful time for a power grab from the 2nd tier individuals

You've hit the nail on the head. There will clearly not be another Steve Jobs but Jobs has built a team which collectively mimics many of his attributes. They will move Apple forward and, as you suggest, may bring improvements based on their own qualities.

This whole Steve Jobs == Apple thing is tiresome. He is the public face of Apple but why so many people think everything Apple does come fully-formed from the mind of Steve Jobs is beyond me. Yes, he is a very active and involved presence in Apple's products but the real "magic" happens in the hands of the engineers and product managers.
post #111 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

I have to say, although I don't know him, from what I've seen publicly and read about SJ, I think the size of his ego is greatly exaggerated.

I tend to agree. What bothers Jobs is mediocrity.

The funny thing is that it was told in Guy Kawasaki's The Macintosh Way that Jobs chastised a manager who was considering hiring someone with the adage "'A people' hire 'A people', 'B people' hire 'C people'". I can imagine him saying that and I believe he hates having mediocre people around him. Some might consider that evidence of an ego, but I bet Jobs relishes the fact that he has hired people more knowledgeable than himself to get the products designed and to market.
post #112 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetzel1517 View Post

By the way, here's the actual resolution - it doesn't ask for specific names. What's the problem with this?

RESOLVED: That the shareholders of Apple, Inc. [sic] (Company) hereby request that the Board of Directors initiate the appropriate process to amend the Companys Corporate Governance Guidelines (Guidelines) to adopt and disclose a written and detailed succession planning policy, including the following specific features:
  • The Board of Directors will review the plan annually;
  • The Board will develop criteria for the CEO position which will reflect the Companys business strategy and will use a formal assessment process to evaluate candidates;
  • The Board will identify and develop internal candidates;
  • The Board will begin non-emergency CEO succession planning at least 3 years before an expected transition and will maintain an emergency succession plan that is reviewed annually;
  • The Board will annually produce a report on its succession plan to shareholders.

And you do realize that Apple most likely does everything but the last step which is the tricky part unless all you really want the report to say "Yeah, we've done all that".

People are suggesting that the report need not name names but it sounds to me that this is exactly what these same people would demand.
post #113 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Apple has a lot of strengths, but corporate governance has never been one of them. That's why they were caught up in a SEC investigation over the backdating of option grants. That's why they were criticized as having too many interlocking board members. But if you mention any of this, the entire exceptional and infallibility argument is what you'll get in response. That, and pretty much nothing else you can actually discuss rationally. You hear about how Apple is perfect, how they just couldn't possibly do anything better, and how you should just shut up about how they could.

It's true that Apple (like a number of other companies) had to deal with these issues - and they have been dealt with. However, these examples only argue for a more independent BOD and confer little value on a published succession plan.
post #114 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctor David View Post

No, it's hyperbole at best. Apple couldn't be in a better position for the future in comparison to just about any tech company out there.

Just ignore what I said and respond with a complete non sequitur. Maybe nobody will notice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sacto Joe View Post

It was a metaphor. Look, I have nothing against "suggestions" for improvements. But these actions are much stronger than mere suggestions.

Frankly, Steve may be frail, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with his mind. And I am convinced that he cares deeply about Apple's future. Therefore, as CEO, he will continue to recieve my wholehearted support, including (and maybe especially!) when it comes to the question of when and how to step down or protect against the worst case scenario. My argument against this sort of stockholder uprising is that it's misplaced, it's assuming the worst.

Steve Jobs has been, and continues to be, a gift to those of us who have tied a substantial part of our livelyhood to Apple. I for one intend to appreciate that gift and welcome its continuation, hopefully for some time to come.

In the spirit of what passes for discussion here, I suppose I'm supposed to say it wasn't a metaphor but hyperbole. Not to worry, I won't.

This is not about whether we "support" Steve Jobs. Of course every stockholder wants him to remain on his post for as long as he's able. What this is about is normal, responsible corporate governance of a huge corporation with tens of thousands of employees and probably hundreds of thousands of stockholders. I suppose if the only company you follow is Apple, then you might not know what normal, responsible corporate governance is. A good deal of what Apple does fails to meet the definition. This is not a strength, it is a fault.

These discussions come to nothing because the counterargument is always some variation on how Apple is different and exceptional, that they've defied gravity and always will if only we all believe hard enough. I guess I was born without the faith gene. Or maybe it's because I've seen Apple fail before, due in no small part to bad management practices forged in arrogance. Maybe I don't want to see them go down that path again, and maybe some act-cleanup would help them avoid that fate. Apple's a big company now. Time to grow up.
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post #115 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by penchanted View Post

It's true that Apple (like a number of other companies) had to deal with these issues - and they have been dealt with. However, these examples only argue for a more independent BOD and confer little value on a published succession plan.

You make a very good point. The current Apple board was hand-selected by Steve for their loyalty to Steve. But since we don't have an independent board, perhaps it becomes more incumbent on the stockholders to make their concerns heard.
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post #116 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by penchanted View Post

This whole Steve Jobs == Apple thing is tiresome. He is the public face of Apple but why so many people think everything Apple does come fully-formed from the mind of Steve Jobs is beyond me. Yes, he is a very active and involved presence in Apple's products but the real "magic" happens in the hands of the engineers and product managers.

Tiresome perhaps, but created by whom? I don't think we can honestly admire Steve the showman and Steve the big idea man, without acknowledging that this has become a huge part of the company's image, and that it has been very deliberately cultivated by Apple and Steve. If Apple seriously wants to unwind Apple and Steve, to prepare itself for the post-Steve era, then it's something that has to be done with some care, over time by Apple and Steve. At the moment, I have questions about either their will or their intentions. I don't know which it is. But it hardly matters, and when they resist ALL efforts, no matter how small, to show that they understand the problem, then that makes me wonder whether they do in fact understand the problem.
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post #117 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

You make a very good point. The current Apple board was hand-selected by Steve for their loyalty to Steve. But since we don't have an independent board, perhaps it becomes more incumbent on the stockholders to make their concerns heard.

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.
post #118 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Tiresome perhaps, but created by whom? I don't think we can honestly admire Steve the showman and Steve the big idea man, without acknowledging that this has become a huge part of the company's image, and that it has been very deliberately cultivated by Apple and Steve. If Apple seriously wants to unwind Apple and Steve, to prepare itself for the post-Steve era, then it's something that has to be done with some care, over time by Apple and Steve. At the moment, I have questions about either their will or their intentions. I don't know which it is. But it hardly matters, and when they resist ALL efforts, no matter how small, to show that they understand the problem, then that makes me wonder whether they do in fact understand the problem.

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.
post #119 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

... These discussions come to nothing because the counterargument is always some variation on how Apple is different and exceptional, that they've defied gravity and always will if only we all believe hard enough. I guess I was born without the faith gene. Or maybe it's because I've seen Apple fail before, due in no small part to bad management practices forged in arrogance. Maybe I don't want to see them go down that path again, and maybe some act-cleanup would help them avoid that fate. Apple's a big company now. Time to grow up.

In this case, the counterargument is that it's a stupid proposal that accomplishes nothing positive. You haven't presented any arguments at all about how this proposal, or "more transparency" (to use your phrase, although, I call it "letting their competitors know what's up", sort of like the generals in a war being "transparent" in their battle plans) in general will improve anything that Apple does or increase shareholder value in any way. Shareholders have ruined enough companies in this country.

You've just backed yourself into your usual corner in this discussion. You get an idea in your head, that isn't always well thought out and it becomes an idée fixe. You don't have any valid arguments, or even good points, to make about why this would be a good idea, so your "argument" boils down to stubbornly digging in and misrepresenting the opposing arguments in your replies.
post #120 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

You make a very good point. The current Apple board was hand-selected by Steve for their loyalty to Steve. ...

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.
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