Steve Jobs resignation letter mocks idea that board had no succession plan

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
In a public letter to Apple's board resigning as chief executive, Steve Jobs wrote "I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple," a barb that appears to mock the notion that Apple had no plans in place to account for his departure.



At the beginning of 2011, the Central Laborers' Pension Fund introduced a shareholder proposal to compel Apple's board to report the company's succession plans and disclose those plans on an annual basis.



"Such a report would enable shareholders to judge the board on its readiness and willingness to meet the demands of succession planning based on the circumstances at the time," the proposal stated.



What, no plans?



Apple's board opposed the proposal, flatly informing shareholders that the company already "maintains a comprehensive succession plan" and that publishing any details of it publicly could only serve to give competitors "an unfair advantage," potentially helping them to "undermine [Apple's] efforts to recruit and retain executives."



Arguing on behalf of the proposal, Jennifer O'Dell of the Laborers' International Union of North America clarified that the plan was really only asking for confirmation that the board is actively reviewing succession plans, and did not compel the company to present any confidential information, an idea that appeared to suggest that the experienced members of Apple's board hadn't even considered that possibility that Jobs may someday leave his position as chief executive.



Shareholders ultimately voted against the proposal, but rumors persisted that Apple might not have any plans in place to accommodate the departure of Jobs or other top executives, despite the fact that Jobs had been on medical leave since January, with Apple's chief operations officer Tim Cook designated to act in Jobs' behalf as needed.



In March, Eric Jackson, writing an opinion piece for Bloomberg asked, "why is it assumed that Apple doesn?t have a succession plan, though? Just because it hasn?t disclosed it doesn?t mean one doesn?t exist."



Jackson added, "what I find remarkable is that while the business media often refer to Jobs as a control-freak obsessing over minor details of products and marketing campaigns, they assume he isn?t equally focused on who will succeed him."



Eight months of gradual transition



Jobs first announced he would be taking a health-related leave of absence in January, then reappeared in March to present iPad 2, and later returned to the stage at the company's worldwide developer conference in June to outline the company's plans for Mac OS X Lion, iOS 5, and new iCloud online services.



Jobs also appeared at a Cupertino city council meeting in June to present the company's plans to build a futuristic, ambitious expansion of its global headquarters in the form of a massive ring-shaped glass building surrounded by trees and powered by its own electrical plant.



While still actively involved in decision making at Apple on a reduced scale, Jobs' leave of absence throughout eight months of 2011 appears to have been calculated to serve as a smooth transition of executive power to Cook, who presided over the company's shareholder meeting in February and has handled the company's quarterly conference calls with analysts, albeit without the same flare and character as Jobs.



Jobs said he would "like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee," a humble wording for a figure universally credited with saving Apple and turning it into the world's most valuable tech company and a global game changer.



In the reduced role as Apple's chairman, Jobs will retain his figurehead leadership of the company he co-founded, even as the market grows to view Cook as the company's leading executive.



Bill Gates continues to serve as Microsoft's chairman, despite having little strategic involvement with the firm and rarely acting as its spokesperson. Given Jobs' charismatic style and attention to detail, he is likely to continue to make appearances as Apple's public executive, even as the team he has put into place continues to assume an increasing role in executing the company's strategy.



Was Apple looking for a CEO?



However, even as late as last month, the Wall Street Journal was stoking the idea that Apple's board still failed to have a clear succession plan, reporting that some of its directors were secretly exploring options to replace Jobs, including the external recruitment of executive candidates.



The article stated that any news of Jobs' departure "is going to be traumatic" for the company, and the authors, Yukari Kane, Joann Lublin and Nick Wingfield, said they reached out to Jobs for his own response to the allegations that Apple was poised to implode with no plans in place were he to leave.



"I think it's hogwash" Jobs reportedly responded in an email.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    bilbo63bilbo63 Posts: 285member
    The way Steve runs things and knowing the health challenges ahead of him, you can bet that he and Apple were ready for this day as sad as it is.



    I'm sad, but not at all worried about Apple's future.
  • Reply 2 of 34
    poochpooch Posts: 768member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    However, even as late as last month, the Wall Street Journal was stoking the idea that Apple's board still failed to have a clear succession plan ...



    the wall street journal has about as much credibility left as an orange, imho. news international. blech. if you think that slime doesn't run downhill, think again..
  • Reply 3 of 34
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,087member
    Apple has all of their plans in place. Remember, they had planned their CPU transition for years before they actually executed the move to Intel. They have at minimum a 5 year plan. Minimum.
  • Reply 4 of 34
    tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member
    Steve I am your long lost millionaire brother. What do ya say we hang out at the mother ship when its done and have some Smart Water latte'.
  • Reply 5 of 34
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Was Apple looking for a CEO?



    However, even as late as last month, the Wall Street Journal was stoking the idea that Apple's board still failed to have a clear succession plan, reporting that some of its directors were secretly exploring options to replace Jobs, including the external recruitment of executive candidates.



    The article stated that any news of Jobs' departure "is going to be traumatic" for the company, and the authors, Yukari Kane, Joann Lublin and Nick Wingfield, said they reached out to Jobs for his own response to the allegations that Apple was poised to implode with no plans in place were he to leave.



    "I think it's hogwash" Jobs reportedly responded in an email.




    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Pooch View Post


    the wall street journal has about as much credibility left as an orange, imho. news international. blech. if you think that slime doesn't run downhill, think again..



    I bet that story was planted by hedge funds who were short the stock.
  • Reply 6 of 34
    I hope he keeps coming back to help with keynotes. I can see that they might not want him to so that there's no doubt that he's no longer CEO, but you have to admit that watching a Steve Jobs keynote is much more fun than watching a Tim Cook keynote was, for the couple of times he took over. Scott Forstall's pretty good, too, and Phil Schiller's not bad, but I'm not sure about whether any of them can pull off one more thing.
  • Reply 7 of 34
    I fail to see how his letter was a mockery. Seems pretty straight forward to me. Could he perhaps have just been emphasizing the "plan" for the record so that there could be no confusion? I mean, that is the guideline for a resignation letter. Again I think people just want to read into things whatever the hell they want to read.
  • Reply 8 of 34
    b9botb9bot Posts: 238member
    Why would we doubt that Tim Cook was not a planned successor when he has been running the company now and the previous time Steve took a leave of absence. Why is it so hard to believe he was not the planned successor.

    Your story is based on your own believe and not facts. Trying to rile up the stock market or what?

    Doesn't matter Tim Cook is now CEO and Steve Jobs is now Chairman of the board enough said.
  • Reply 9 of 34
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,587member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bilbo63 View Post


    The way Steve runs things and knowing the health challenges ahead of him, you can bet that he and Apple were ready for this day as sad as it is.



    I'm sad, but not at all worried about Apple's future.



    Well said! I have been an Apple user since buying my first mac in 1984. Taking it to my office as my work computer to the chuckles of the techtards in our company. I remember a trio of wintel geeks telling me at the time that the Mac UI was no big deal, that they could easily build such a user interface for their DOS machines. Laughable - 11 years later was MSFT's lame response. Steve, through his genius and insight, has driven unparalleled innovation in the PC, music, tablet and mobile phone universe both inside Apple and outside. He has built an incredibly strong team to carry on that legacy.



    Our thoughts are with you Steve! And thank you for all you have done and continue to do to enrich our lives.
  • Reply 10 of 34
    juandljuandl Posts: 228member
    I would bet at least two cents that the new primary Apple Spokeman will be Scott Forstall.

    He will never be a Steve Jobs. But I think he will do a better job than Ballmer for sure. (Joke)
  • Reply 11 of 34
    hittrj01hittrj01 Posts: 753member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by LighteningKid View Post


    I hope he keeps coming back to help with keynotes. I can see that they might not want him to so that there's no doubt that he's no longer CEO, but you have to admit that watching a Steve Jobs keynote is much more fun than watching a Tim Cook keynote was, for the couple of times he took over. Scott Forstall's pretty good, too, and Phil Schiller's not bad, but I'm not sure about whether any of them can pull off one more thing.



    Scott Forstall is the best presenter, sans Jobs, that Apple has. He has great electricity when he's onstage, and he has an obvious passion for what he is presenting. I always feel Schiller is trying to sell me something. With Scott, I get the same feeling as with Steve: he wants to share this incredible technology with me. There is a huge difference, imo.
  • Reply 12 of 34
  • Reply 13 of 34
    bilbo63bilbo63 Posts: 285member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post


    Scott Forstall is the best presenter, sans Jobs, that Apple has. He has great electricity when he's onstage, and he has an obvious passion for what he is presenting. I always feel Schiller is trying to sell me something. With Scott, I get the same feeling as with Steve: he wants to share this incredible technology with me. There is a huge difference, imo.



    I have no real problems with Phil as a presenter, but I like Scott better too.
  • Reply 14 of 34
    Perhaps Steve's greatest design is not a product for sale, but the organization he has built.



    There is no Microsoftian Law Of Nature that says you must always depend on the out-front charismatic leader.



    Apple has its stars and Steve's has been a super-nova, but he has shown that it's possible to create creativity.
  • Reply 15 of 34
    haggarhaggar Posts: 1,568member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by KrakaJap View Post


    I fail to see how his letter was a mockery. Seems pretty straight forward to me. Could he perhaps have just been emphasizing the "plan" for the record so that there could be no confusion? I mean, that is the guideline for a resignation letter. Again I think people just want to read into things whatever the hell they want to read.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by b9bot View Post


    Why would we doubt that Tim Cook was not a planned successor when he has been running the company now and the previous time Steve took a leave of absence. Why is it so hard to believe he was not the planned successor.

    Your story is based on your own believe and not facts. Trying to rile up the stock market or what?

    Doesn't matter Tim Cook is now CEO and Steve Jobs is now Chairman of the board enough said.



    Agreed. We must also take into account the author of this article. He may as well write articles titled:



    Apple mocks fanboys by introducing video iPod.



    Apple mocks fanboys by introducing App Store, allowing third parties to create native iPhone applications.



    Apple mocks fanboys by adding copy and paste to iPhone.



    Apple mocks fanboys by adding multitasking to iPhone.



    Apple mocks fanboys by switching to Intel processors.
  • Reply 16 of 34
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bilbo63 View Post


    The way Steve runs things and knowing the health challenges ahead of him, you can bet that he and Apple were ready for this day as sad as it is.



    I'm sad, but not at all worried about Apple's future.



    I'm betting that they have some sort of succession plan, only the coming weeks will tell us for sure.
  • Reply 17 of 34
    The article contradicts its own premise. Nobody ever seriously questioned whether Apple had a succession plan. The debate was over how much of it should be disclosed to shareholders.
  • Reply 18 of 34
    Has AI become "National Inquirer" or TMZ?



    So here is what I heard - Steve is going to take it easy and focus on the construction of "Mothership Campus" in Cupertino!
  • Reply 19 of 34
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Haggar View Post


    Agreed. We must also take into account the author of this article. He may as well write articles titled:



    Apple mocks fanboys by introducing video iPod.



    Apple mocks fanboys by introducing App Store, allowing third parties to create native iPhone applications.



    Apple mocks fanboys by adding copy and paste to iPhone.



    Apple mocks fanboys by adding multitasking to iPhone.



    Apple mocks fanboys by switching to Intel processors.



    "Kasper's Automated Slave" is not actually a person AFAIK.



    And good choice going for being mean at this particular time. Really classy.
  • Reply 20 of 34
    You are the Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Walt Disney of our Era.



    You have inspired all of us.







    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FriedLobster View Post






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