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35% of companies, including Apple, have a CEO succession plan

post #1 of 93
Thread Starter 
While investors attempt to strongarm Apple's board of directors into publicizing their CEO succession plan, a recent survey found that just 35 percent of companies have drafted such a plan.

A December survey of 1,318 executives by Korn/Ferry International, as noted by the San Francisco Chronicle, found that 98 percent believe a CEO succession plan is an important part of corporate governance. But the poll found only 35 percent of companies have planned for the departure of their CEO.

"Given the number of abrupt, high profile executive departures this year, it's surprising that more companies are not acting with greater urgency to put a CEO succession plan in place," said Joe Griesedieck, vice chairman and managing director of Korn/Ferry Board & CEO Services Practice.

"In today's environment, succession planning should be a part of any company's standard approach to governance."

In January, it was revealed that a group of shareholders is attempting to force Apple to disclose a written CEO succession policy. The proposal came to light in the company's 2011 Proxy Statement filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Apple opposes the proposal, but has noted that the company maintains a confidential "comprehensive succession plan." The board of directors of the Cupertino, Calif., company views the publishing of the plan as a move that would give Apple's competitors an "unfair advantage."

Talk of Apple's succession plan picked up once again in January, when Apple announced that its chief executive, Steve Jobs, would take another medical leave of absence from the company. Jobs said in a statement that he will remain CEO and be involved in all major strategic decisions, but said he must leave his day-to-day role to focus on his health.

Overseeing the company's daily operations is Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook, who previously took over for Jobs in another medical leave of absence in 2009. Jobs eventually returned to work in June of 2009 after he received a liver transplant.

The investor proposal to disclose Apple's CEO succession plan will be in the hands of shareholders at the company's annual meeting on Feb. 23. Though Apple has recommended that shareholders vote against it, the plan did recently receive support from influential advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services.
post #2 of 93
Shareholders are not necessarily equipped with the ability to run a tech company like apple, they should leave that up to the people credited with moving the company forward. I mean all shareholders care about is making a profit and not so much about the company right?
post #3 of 93
I own a few Apple shares and I don't believe that the succession plan should be made public. That's like publicizing the battle plan before going into battle. I will be voting against the proposal.
post #4 of 93
All this fuss over Apple's future. What about the rest of the tech sector? The number of tech companies that don't have any type of plan except copy Apple is alarming. I guess their shares should drop every time SJ is absent too ... where the heck are their next products going come from without him?

I will vote against this proposal.
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post #5 of 93
Already voted against the proposal. I urge all shareholders to do the same.
post #6 of 93
These shareholders want to be assured that the successor to Steve Jobs is also Steve Jobs. And when this successor is (inevitably) found to be something less than Steve Jobs, they want to complain.

This solves absolutely nothing, of course, but apparently it makes them feel better.
post #7 of 93
I vote for Steve Wozniak and Steve Balmer to run Apple together as dual-core CEOs. (I should short my stock for mentioning that)
post #8 of 93
Of all the tech companies around, Apple is the only one that has explicitly revealed its succession plan. In the last few years it's been put into action thrice. Are these shareholder petitioners just stupid or what?
post #9 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post

Are these shareholder petitioners just stupid or what?

I vote 'yes'.
post #10 of 93
to tundraboy: You know something all others don't? Apple has _not_ revealed its succession plan. The only thing we've publicly seen is that Tim Cook takes over if Steve Jobs takes a leave of absence. That can be taken as a sign, maybe, but certainly not any "explicitly revealed succession plan". That said: I don't want them to reveal such a plan. I only want them to _have_ one.
post #11 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBum View Post

I own a few Apple shares and I don't believe that the succession plan should be made public. That's like publicizing the battle plan before going into battle. I will be voting against the proposal.

I don't understand that. I am sitting on a real battlefied right now. If don't want to give the enemy the upper hand, so I do everything in my power not to let on my battle plans. I want to win and him to lose.

By your logic, the shareholders are the enemy of the corporation. That is absolutely wrong; the shareholders are the owners of the corporation.
post #12 of 93
The next CEO of Apple is Tim Cook. If it was not; Tim Cook would not now be at Apple. It's pretty simple.
post #13 of 93
So, 66% of companies do not have a CEO succession plan. I would say that the CEO is really not that important in at least 66% of companies. Apple is one of the few exceptions where people even know the name of the CEO.
post #14 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by justbobf View Post

So, 66% of companies do not have a CEO succession plan. I would say that the CEO is really not that important in at least 66% of companies. Apple is one of the few exceptions where people even know the name of the CEO.

Truth of the matter is that most businesses that don't "run themselves" can't survive the loss of their CEO or managing partner. 66% Are more likely focused on just surviving.

Heck, even Apple had to hire an interim CEO for 5-6 years while they tried to get just the right person...

Agree that companies should have a plan, but should not be forced to publicize it.
post #15 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by justbobf View Post

So, 66% of companies do not have a CEO succession plan. I would say that the CEO is really not that important in at least 66% of companies. Apple is one of the few exceptions where people even know the name of the CEO.

I think it's more that CEOs make long term strategic decisions as opposed to day to day details, therefore it's ok to take a while to find a new one. You don't really need an immediate succession plan.

IMHO these calls are just the latest iteration of picking on Apple.
post #16 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by msuberly View Post

I don't understand that. I am sitting on a real battlefied right now. If don't want to give the enemy the upper hand, so I do everything in my power not to let on my battle plans. I want to win and him to lose.

By your logic, the shareholders are the enemy of the corporation. That is absolutely wrong; the shareholders are the owners of the corporation.

The board of directors are the agents of the shareholders. The board of directors needs to insist on and approve of a succession plan. Fortunately for us, the shareholders, they have done both of those things. They also need to keep this under wraps.

To use your analogy, the American people aren't the enemy so why doesn't the Pentagon let us in on their warfighting plans? We can keep a secret, right?
post #17 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by msuberly View Post

I don't understand that. I am sitting on a real battlefied right now. If don't want to give the enemy the upper hand, so I do everything in my power not to let on my battle plans. I want to win and him to lose.

By your logic, the shareholders are the enemy of the corporation. That is absolutely wrong; the shareholders are the owners of the corporation.

Perhaps you are familiar with the phrase, "Loose lips sink ships." The generals and admirals don't tell every soldier and sailor all the details of their battle plans, only what they need to know to perform their duty. Shareholders not only have loose lips (and have no 'duty' in this sense), but you can pretty much assume that some of them are "the enemy", so informing shareholders of your succession plan is pretty much analogous to posting your war plans on the Internet.
post #18 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by msuberly View Post

I don't understand that. I am sitting on a real battlefied right now. If don't want to give the enemy the upper hand, so I do everything in my power not to let on my battle plans. I want to win and him to lose.

By your logic, the shareholders are the enemy of the corporation. That is absolutely wrong; the shareholders are the owners of the corporation.

Wrong reading. Shareholders are not the enemy - but they also do not uniformly have the best interests of the corporation at heart either from individual to individual and from pension fund to pension fund. And again shareholder are NOT the owners of the corporation - they hold interest in it - a very important distinction that the courts have used several times. That being said , if the actual plan was revealed to shareholders, it becomes a public document, and revelatory to competitors. The Apple BOD has stated previously that they HAVE a succession plan in place. They just choose not to reveal the contents to the shareholders. Shareholders are known as a body to be largely indiscrete and self-interested - especially funds managers, so I agree that the BOD should resist all demands to make that document public - it is enough to know they have a succession plan in place.
post #19 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

The board of directors are the agents of the shareholders. The board of directors needs to insist on and approve of a succession plan. Fortunately for us, the shareholders, they have done both of those things. They also need to keep this under wraps.

To use your analogy, the American people aren't the enemy so why doesn't the Pentagon let us in on their warfighting plans? We can keep a secret, right?

On the other hand Julian is waiting to take care of any "leaks" that happen to come his way from disgruntled PFC's, stockholders or whomever...
post #20 of 93
Here we go again. Lots of opinions, little accurate information. This article provides a good overview of the issues, with opinions pro and con:

http://www.informationweek.com/news/...leID=229201237

Note, first of all, that the shareholder proposal would not "force Apple to disclose a written CEO succession policy."
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post #21 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by fryke View Post

to tundraboy: You know something all others don't? Apple has _not_ revealed its succession plan. The only thing we've publicly seen is that Tim Cook takes over if Steve Jobs takes a leave of absence. That can be taken as a sign, maybe, but certainly not any "explicitly revealed succession plan". That said: I don't want them to reveal such a plan. I only want them to _have_ one.

I disagree. Its clear that Cook is tagged as CEO. Day to day running of the company and all things production related.
The question is whether or not that role would continue to include responsibilities for 'visionary' (for lack of a better word.)
No where does the CEO role mandate responsibility for product direction, and I don't think Cook will have (or want) that role.
Detailing individual responsibilities beyond day-to-day show running is not something Apple should be forced to disclose. Exposing who would be making design decisions would be akin to disclosing the design itself.
post #22 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister Snitch View Post

These shareholders want to be assured that the successor to Steve Jobs is also Steve Jobs. And when this successor is (inevitably) found to be something less than Steve Jobs, they want to complain.

This solves absolutely nothing, of course, but apparently it makes them feel better.

The succession plan should be to keep significant stock of Steve Jobs' DNA so they can clone him over and over again as needed.
post #23 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Here we go again. Lots of opinions, little accurate information. This article provides a good overview of the issues, with opinions pro and con:

http://www.informationweek.com/news/...leID=229201237

Note, first of all, that the shareholder proposal would not "force Apple to disclose a written CEO succession policy."

According to the article, it would force Apple to disclose, "details of its overall succession plan." So, what exactly does that mean, since it requires a report, if not for them to, "disclose a written CEO succession policy." I think the doctor either doesn't understand what he's talking about or is engaged in a bit of double-speak.

There are 2 meaningful interpretations of this proposal. If one interprets it literally, all Apple would have to do to comply is say, "Yes, we have a succession plan." This interpretation makes it essentially meaningless, especially since they've already indicated they do have one, and a complete waste of time. The only other valid interpretation is that they are to, "disclose a written CEO succession policy," which of course is insane.

Anyone supporting this either doesn't understand what they are supporting, has a mistaken notion that they are entitled to know the "inner workings" of Apple simply because they are a shareholder, or desires to handicap Apple should it ever need to execute its CEO succession plan.

It's just a stupid idea concocted by fools.
post #24 of 93
What difference would a published plan make to investors either way. Some people have too much time on their hands. I barely have enough time to post to this forum.
post #25 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

According to the article, it would force Apple to disclose, "details of its overall succession plan." So, what exactly does that mean, since it requires a report, if not for them to, "disclose a written CEO succession policy." I think the doctor either doesn't understand what he's talking about or is engaged in a bit of double-speak.

There are 2 meaningful interpretations of this proposal. If one interprets it literally, all Apple would have to do to comply is say, "Yes, we have a succession plan." This interpretation makes it essentially meaningless, especially since they've already indicated they do have one, and a complete waste of time. The only other valid interpretation is that they are to, "disclose a written CEO succession policy," which of course is insane.

Anyone supporting this either doesn't understand what they are supporting, has a mistaken notion that they are entitled to know the "inner workings" of Apple simply because they are a shareholder, or desires to handicap Apple should it ever need to execute its CEO succession plan.

It's just a stupid idea concocted by fools.

The article said a number of things, which of course you have picked and chosen. The article lays out the issues fairly and airs opinions pro and con. Hard to take fairness? For you, it is apparently.

For one, nothing in the shareholder proposal forces Apple to do anything. The measure is strictly advisory to the board. I think it's foolish to base opinions on misinformation.
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post #26 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by fryke View Post

to tundraboy: You know something all others don't? Apple has _not_ revealed its succession plan. The only thing we've publicly seen is that Tim Cook takes over if Steve Jobs takes a leave of absence. That can be taken as a sign, maybe, but certainly not any "explicitly revealed succession plan". That said: I don't want them to reveal such a plan. I only want them to _have_ one.

Yes, I do know something that you don't. I know that when it comes to Apple's or any other company's succession plan, actions reveal a lot more than anythiing put down on paper. No explicitly published succession plan is more reliable than an actual fire drill. We've seen Apple hold three fire drills now and if you think those are nothing more than just mere 'signs', then I think you probably have a lot of difficulty making decisions in environments of other than full certainty.

Tim Cook took over the helm two (three?) times now and was/is quite successful in running the company in all occasions and very highly praised by Steve jobs. If you don't see that as solid, take-it-to-the-bank indication of Apple's succession plan, then nothing will satisfy you.
post #27 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

The article said a number of things, which of course you have picked and chosen. The article lays out the issues fairly and airs opinions pro and con. Hard to take fairness? For you, it is apparently.

For one, nothing in the shareholder proposal forces Apple to do anything. The measure is strictly advisory to the board. I think it's foolish to base opinions on misinformation.

I read the article. It's pretty much just a fluff piece and really doesn't say much at all, except where it contradicts itself. But, now, it seems, you're adopting the interpretation that it's a meaningless proposal, so why should they be wasting their time on this?
post #28 of 93
A few of you have touched on the subject which it probably the real questions behind this all, and that is who will be the person setting product direction. Everyone is concern that what happen in the late 80's and early 90's will happen again. Which very well could happen, since John was CEO and Steve was setting product direction and the two did not get along and we know how that story nearly ended.

If Cook becomes CEO who will be the guy with the single direction vision and will those two get along. We all know that no one gets along with Steve unless you do exactly what he wants and from what I heard it not always clear what he wants.

The other unknown thing is how much is Steve really involved in the various parts of the Business. We know he negotiate deals with suppliers and customers. We also heard he involved in the PR and advertising.

One of the primary reason Apple is successful is due to the fact there is a single vision for the company and no product is released unless he agrees it fits into his vision.

I plan to vote no on the proposal, since I do believe Apple probably had discussions about who will do what and when, however, I do not believe it should be public knowledge, also it is not really clear from the proposal if they are required to reveal a succession plan what does that really mean.
post #29 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post


To use your analogy, the American people aren't the enemy so why doesn't the Pentagon let us in on their warfighting plans? We can keep a secret, right?

innocent mistakes is why. Sometimes folks say something thinking that it is a little thing, can't hurt anyone. But it could.

Until just a few weeks ago if you were in the military, using social media could get you tossed in jail or even discharged. Now they have a huge list of rules of what they can say and post. Things like no location tagging, including in photos. No showing buildings etc. No mentioning your squad name or size. all to stop 'innocent' mistakes

Folks think that the talk that Apple doesn't tell the retail staff anything before the public is bull. I totally believe it. All it would talk is some kid posting something on his facebook page (that is tagged that he works at apple) to cause a huge leak. But he might think it wan't really a big thing to say.

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post #30 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hal 9000 View Post

Already voted against the proposal. I urge all shareholders to do the same.

Me too. Voted last month.
Surprisingly, unlike in all previous stock voting for Apple, I actually voted exactly as the board recommended on all proposals.
Surprised me, although I don't exactly feel like a corporate stooge.
post #31 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by OriginalG View Post

The succession plan should be to keep significant stock of Steve Jobs' DNA so they can clone him over and over again as needed.

Who needs DNA when you have the iSteve. It's magical, amazing. Wouldn't it be cool if there was a robotic Steve that looks, walks and talks like him and has been programmed via a secret but amazing system of hourly backups of real Steve's brain based on Apple's magical Time Machine software. Put it in Steve's clothes and no one will know the difference.

Although, have you noticed that we never see Steve in broad daylight anymore. I wonder if he sparkles.

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post #32 of 93
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Originally Posted by grandpa151214 View Post

Hi everyone does anyone know how to make a cake decorating tip out of scratch? I need it for writting on the cake and one for the border of the cake.

First, Grampa Spammy, you should always start with fresh scratch. . . .
post #33 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

I plan to vote no in the proposal, since I do believe Apple probably has discussion about who will do what and when, however, I do not believe it should be public knowledge, also it not really clear from the proposal if they are required to reveal a succession plan what does that really mean.

Apple has done more than discuss it -- they say the have a plan. What they don't want to do is reveal any part of it to the stockholders. They would not be required to reveal anything, let alone anything specific, or even abide by the proposal, if it was approved. It's strictly advisory.

Here's another article on the subject that probably nobody will read.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/5839dc72-2...#axzz1DIAAZaYB
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post #34 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

The board of directors are the agents of the shareholders. The board of directors needs to insist on and approve of a succession plan. Fortunately for us, the shareholders, they have done both of those things. They also need to keep this under wraps.

To use your analogy, the American people aren't the enemy so why doesn't the Pentagon let us in on their warfighting plans? We can keep a secret, right?

Well explained.
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post #35 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by RicMac View Post

The next CEO of Apple is Tim Cook. If it was not; Tim Cook would not now be at Apple. It's pretty simple.

Not likely. Tim Cook is not a CEO, and he knows it. He is comfortable with it, too, which is why he stays. I don't know where the CEO will come from, but let me be clear about this: Steve Jobs is not a one-off. The thing about Jobs is that he is exceedingly rare if you compare him to other businessmen in his generation, but there are plenty of very smart, dynamic, million-meters-per-second people who have come from the startup environment of the last 15 years.
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post #36 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Well explained.

It was a poor analogy. But so far, I haven't seen actual information get in the way of opinions, and somehow I doubt that's going to change.
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post #37 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Apple has done more than discuss it -- they say the have a plan. What they don't want to do is reveal any part of it to the stockholders. They would not be required to reveal anything, let alone anything specific, or even abide by the proposal, if it was approved. It's strictly advisory.

Here's another article on the subject that probably nobody will read.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/5839dc72-2...#axzz1DIAAZaYB

So, again, what's the point of this proposal if it in fact means what you say it does, and everyone agrees that it means what you say it does -- i.e., that it means nothing. If the proposal doesn't require them to do anything, and we already know they don't wish to reveal any more than they already have to shareholders (i.e., everyone in the world). Either it's a complete waste of time, or some people (e.g., those proposing it) believe that it means something more, and requires Apple to do more, than you say you think it means. But assuming one does think it's meaningless, and, if it is, should already know that it will not result in any more information than has already been released being released, why would one support this sort of nonsense resolution which will only encourage more nonsense resolutions in the future.

In fact, I think the people proposing this believe it does require Apple to reveal specific information. If they didn't, they would not have gone to the trouble of drafting the specific wording they did, they would just have proposed a resolution that said, "The shareholders would like to know more about CEO succession plans, if you don't mind telling us."
post #38 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

It was a poor analogy. But so far, I haven't seen actual information get in the way of opinions, and somehow I doubt that's going to change.

Actual information, hahaha. All you've done is link to opinions, and express your belief that this proposal is both meaningless and very important. Nothing like not letting actual reason get in the way of stubborness. You don't know what this means or even why you are supporting it. All you know is that you decided to support it and you're sticking to your guns, and pretending that no one else knows what they are talking about. Sorry, doc, everyone else isn't crazy.
post #39 of 93
I could easily post a long list of articles on shareholder rights, and shareholder ownership of a public company, but I doubt anyone would read those either.
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post #40 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

I could easily post a long list of articles on shareholder rights, and shareholder ownership of a public company, but I doubt anyone would read those either.

Post the link to the SEC regulation that says shareholders have a right to a company's detailed succession planning, or even to know the "inner workings" of the company. To the contrary, the board has the obligation to keep this information confidential as revealing it would harm the company.
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