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35% of companies, including Apple, have a CEO succession plan - Page 3

post #81 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by penchanted View Post

Smaller boards are typically quicker to reach consensus which is an advantage. But they also often lack the breadth and scope to provide strategic guidance in areas where the executive suite either lacks talent or is just building talent. As an example, I am certain that having Micky Drexler on the board was very advantageous when Apple decided to enter the retail space and I suspect his perspective is still very important to Apple's retail efforts.

I would be interested in a few of your cites.

Smaller groups almost always make better decisions. The more people involved, the more political everything becomes, the more they get distracted by irrelevant factors, the harder it gets to achieve effective consensus. Just contrast a smallish board like Apple's with, say, the U.S. Congress. The only way the latter ever gets anything done is through their rules processes and committees -- i.e., by breaking up into smaller groups and limiting the ability of the body as a whole to override the committee process.
post #82 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Oh, you're attributing way more than I intended. I have not been following the minutiae of the thread and all the various layers of ego issues involved (when it's a long set of A responding to B responding to A responding to B, people like me just give up!).

I saw a pithy post that made a lot of sense, and said 'spot on' that's all. No need to take it personally.

Fair enough, but I wasn't responding to you so much as the post you endorsed. Fundamentally, many here are arguing against something which isn't actually happening. Many times in this and other threads on this subject I have posted links to articles demonstrating, factually, that they are howling at the moon -- but as nearly as I can tell, hardly anyone reads them, and the arguments never alter to accommodate the facts. Hence, my reference to Lewis Carroll.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

First, Boards can ignore repeated shareholder requests only for so long. Quite apart from the negative publicity that would result, Boards also have to keep in mind that, at the end of the day, they owe their fiduciary obligation to shareholders, not management.

Which brings up your Point 2. I can actually now begin to understand why some people are reacting as tough you really do not seem to understand the basics of how the US governance system works. Let's get one thing straight: management works for Boards, and Boards work for shareholders, in the Anglo-American system. Period. There is no 'deal' (part or whole) with investors about what 'say' they have in how things are run. Investors have their say through the Board, no more, no less. (I'd suggest you read carefully again in my previous post about where I specifically mentioned shareholders should have a say).

Your view of the supposed contract that management has with shareholders is just that: supposed. It does not comport with either the law or reality.

It is also now obvious why you did not understand the implications of shareholder heterogeneity point that I bought up. I think you're smart enough to educate yourself on this issue if you're interested.

Ah, so you've decided on sarcasm as a debating technique. Sigh.

Strangely enough, I don't think we disagree as much as you might like to think. Yes, the board may have to respond to shareholder concerns, ultimately or eventually. How they do so is largely up to them. That's the way it's supposed to work. The Apple board has been on the receiving end of negative publicity for some time, and for good cause. They can put an end to the grumbling by improving their shareholder relations -- which has been abysmal. Even just a little would probably serve.

Your lecture on the management-shareholder relationship is a bunch of gobbledygook. I can't make any sense of it and I suspect I'm not supposed to. No matter what you might have meant, the fact is, stockholders do have a voice in the operations of the company, but in the most general sense only. They can and often do express dissatisfaction with the way a company is run to the board, which can decide how to respond to their concerns. Some companies respond in ways which satisfy concerned stockholders. Others play deaf to these concerns and wait for shareholders to become really irate, file stockholder motions, which generate bad publicity. Now let me see, which way of running a company is smarter...?
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post #83 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

... Your lecture on the management-shareholder relationship is a bunch of gobbledygook. I can't make any sense of it and I suspect I'm not supposed to. ...

I suspect that's because your ideas on the subject are so rigid and tied up with your sense of self-importance that it's impossible for you to understand anything that contradicts them in the least.
post #84 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by DESuserIGN View Post

I would say there are definitely NOT "plenty of people coming out of the startup ranks" who can even come close to what he does. In fact, most of those folks are not really acceptable because they've become too focused on marketing & business plans with no real feel for what people need. As good as Steve is at turning a buck, he always starts with "What would make life better and more interesting?" not with "What would attract venture capital?" or "What would make tons o' cash?"

On what information do you base this assessment? There are always wave-rider startups that are formed to cash in on trends, but this naturally implies that someone was there to start the wave. To be a wave-starter is different. It requires a trip through purgatory, with no guarantee of paradise, and based-on your specious and tepid notion of entrepreneurs in general, I take it you don't know any of these kinds of people. There are at least a dozen people in the valley (silicon valley) who are wave-starters and could most likely be solid CEO replacements at Apple. Apple will buy one or more of these companies when they are ready, just like how they bought NeXT to get Steve.
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post #85 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by penchanted View Post

Smaller boards are typically quicker to reach consensus which is an advantage. But they also often lack the breadth and scope to provide strategic guidance in areas where the executive suite either lacks talent or is just building talent...

The only time it is desirable to have a larger board is when you need to cancel-out idiots. But this is a dangerous strategy unless you have a sure-fire way to, eventually, remove idiots from the board, two-by-two. Idiots like to hide in numbers, and process.
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post #86 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Here's what I said about the excess cash (and why) yesterday in a thread in which this issue was being discussed -- basically, I argue for a massive, one-time share repurchase (no, not for EPS reasons as some might immediately think, since that aspect of it is irrelevant): http://forums.appleinsider.com/showt...69#post1802969

I agree with almost all of your points: no dividend, opportunities, Apple's goals for the cash, no toxic acquisitions, etc.

I read your idea yesterday and thought it sounded like a really reasonable approach - it makes more sense than most other things suggested. My concern is that Apple may be considering some huge purchase which I really fear - there are just too many examples of how these kinds of attempts fail.
post #87 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Smaller groups almost always make better decisions. The more people involved, the more political everything becomes, the more they get distracted by irrelevant factors, the harder it gets to achieve effective consensus. Just contrast a smallish board like Apple's with, say, the U.S. Congress. The only way the latter ever gets anything done is through their rules processes and committees -- i.e., by breaking up into smaller groups and limiting the ability of the body as a whole to override the committee process.

I am aware of this and even mentioned it as a benefit to Apple. The problem for an organization like Apple is to make sure that their various constituent stakeholders are represented. As an example, the board could benefit by having someone from education as a member.

I am not suggesting that Apple needs 14-17 board members but adding a couple (or 4 over a few years) might well provide insight and strategic direction as Apple continues to grow.
post #88 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splinemodel View Post

The only time it is desirable to have a larger board is when you need to cancel-out idiots. But this is a dangerous strategy unless you have a sure-fire way to, eventually, remove idiots from the board, two-by-two. Idiots like to hide in numbers, and process.

Well, I've identified two board members that i'd like to see cancelled out as I believe they are just yes men for Jobs. Mind you, I am not suggesting the board needs to look like Oracle's or others of that size but a couple of extra seats might actually improve their strategic planning.
post #89 of 93
I voted no for the shareholder proposal to reveal the succession plan. I don't want the competition to know about Job's avatar before all the bugs in the code are worked out. One thing I can tell you is that it will be wearing blue jeans and a black t-shirt.
post #90 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by penchanted View Post

Well, I've identified two board members that i'd like to see cancelled out as I believe they are just yes men for Jobs. Mind you, I am not suggesting the board needs to look like Oracle's or others of that size but a couple of extra seats might actually improve their strategic planning.

That's a pretty tough argument to make, that Apple, a company that has apparently developed and executed a nearly flawless strategy over the past decade, has serious issue with its strategic planning that need to be addressed by shaking up the board.
post #91 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post


Your lecture on the management-shareholder relationship is a bunch of gobbledygook. I can't make any sense of it and I suspect I'm not supposed to.

It's not my lecture. I am just the messenger. That's what the US system of governance is. You don't get to pick your hoped-for version of it.
post #92 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

It's not my lecture. I am just the messenger. That's what the US system of governance is. You don't get to pick your hoped-for version of it.

A complete non-answer. You are outdoing yourself today.
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post #93 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

That's a pretty tough argument to make, that Apple, a company that has apparently developed and executed a nearly flawless strategy over the past decade, has serious issue with its strategic planning that need to be addressed by shaking up the board.

I acknowledge that Apple has appeared to execute near flawlessly but there have been missteps and maybe even missed opportunities. It's hard to argue against the existing board based on what has transpired; on the other hand, as I look forward to an eventually Jobs-less Apple, I think they could benefit from a few fresh faces to help them maintain their momentum. And I'd like to see them come aboard while Jobs is still around (I actually think that Jobs has more pull in the boardroom than he does throughout the company in general). This is in no way meant as a slight to the executive suite at Apple just some musings I've had as a shareholder.

Also, I am not really looking at shaking up the board - my suggestion is to add a couple of seats. I'd like to see someone from education and I would like to see someone who rose through the finance/accounting side of a business. Or maybe someone who has more experience in the internet/social area that Apple seems to struggle with. Or, how about someone from the communications industry if they plan on doing the MVNO thing?
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