Apple Board of Directors at 'crossroads' after death of Steve Jobs

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
The passing of Steve Jobs has put a spotlight on Apple's board of directors, as onlookers wonder whether the company will expand and diversify the board to bring about a new era.



"Business as usual, or time for a change?" a new report from Reuters asked. Some now wonder if Apple will choose an independent chairman -- someone from outside of the company -- to head its board of directors.



The current board features former U.S. vice president Al Gore, Genentech Chairman Arthur D. Levinson, and Avon CEO Andrea Jung. Just seven people, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, serve on the board, a group that has been seen as a group that would advise Jobs as head of Apple, rather than oversee him.



But with Jobs gone and Cook now in charge, industry watchers have questioned whether Apple should expand its board and change its approach. Adding a strong chairman could create a "healthy tension" between that person and Cook, analyst Colin Gillis of BGC Partners reportedly said.



And Jim Post, professor of corporate governance at Boston University School of Management, told Reuters he believes Apple's board of directors needs to add people who weren't "living in Steve's shadow."



"The old message was 'trust Steve,' the new message has to be 'trust the team.' ... It's no longer the cult of personality," Post said.



After he resigned as CEO in August, Jobs remained as chairman of the board at Apple. That spot was vacated when he passed away at the age of 56 on Wednesday.







For years the Apple board has been scrutinized by some who feel that Jobs had too much sway over his "hand-picked" group of directors. But in late 2009, Apple did ease some of those concerns when Jung -- a company "outsider" -- was named co-lead director of the board.



The last change to the Apple Board of Directors came in November 2010, when Ronald D. Sugar was appointed. Sugar is the former chairman of the board and CEO of Northrop Grumman Corporation; he came to the board after Jerry York, former CEO of Harwinton Capital, passed away that March.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 121
    kibitzerkibitzer Posts: 1,113member
    Thumbsucking.
  • Reply 2 of 121
    I have no doubt that Apple could continue to do very well creating wonderful devices for a very long time. BUT... I am afraid that won't happen due to the greed and stupidity of the Apple Board of Directors. I expect infighting, etc. I hope this isn't true, but I truly don't expect Apple to be as great as it once was. Jobs was able to keep these people in line, but will the CEO be able to do the same thing?
  • Reply 3 of 121
    kibitzerkibitzer Posts: 1,113member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lamewing View Post


    "... due to the greed and stupidity of the Apple Board of Directors ..."



    A pretty gross assertion on your part. Do you have any evidence to substantiate it?



    Otherwise, that's thumbsucking on top of thumbsucking.
  • Reply 4 of 121
    conradjoeconradjoe Posts: 1,887member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lamewing View Post


    Jobs was able to keep these people in line, but will the CEO be able to do the same thing?



    The CEO serves at the pleasure of the Board of Directors. Not the other way around.



    The CEO is just an employee. The Board represents the owners of the company - which is mostly Wall Street Types. Big Mutual Funds, Pension Plans, Hedge Funds, other gigantic corporations, etc. Those are the ones who get to say what happens, not some CEO.
  • Reply 5 of 121
    "For years the Apple board has been scrutinized by some who feel that Jobs had too much sway over his "hand-picked" group of directors."



    Boy... and did that ever hurt the company...
  • Reply 6 of 121
    ajitmdajitmd Posts: 365member
    Most board of directors are useless, or worse, crooked. Cook keeps the trains running on time, but he needs to groom CTO that is creative, thinks out of the box and can implement the ideas. I just do not know how a mature company like Apple will be open to new "wild hair" talent.



    If they get too stuffy, they will be like IBM.
  • Reply 7 of 121
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post


    The CEO serves at the pleasure of the Board of Directors. Not the other way around.



    The CEO is just an employee. The Board represents the owners of the company - which is mostly Wall Street Types. Big Mutual Funds, Pension Plans, Hedge Funds, other gigantic corporations, etc. Those are the ones who get to say what happens, not some CEO.



    Not really.



    In practice, the board sets broad directions and the CEO is responsible to implement the broad directions of the board. If the Board is unhappy with the CEO, they can replace him, but that rarely happens when a company is doing well and following the broad guidelines of the board.



    The board doesn't say what happens in any real sense any more than you get to say which route your mail takes when you mail a letter to Boston. You set the direction, the people you employ do the day to day stuff.
  • Reply 8 of 121
    This is the dumbest shit I've ever heard.



    Apple is now the most valuable company in the world - but somehow the board needs to mix things up, and start playing a greater role in the running of the company?



    A recipe for disaster.



    Apple didn't get to where it is due to a meddling, over-involved BOD.



    The Board needs to offer all it's support to Tim and his team, and then stand back and refrain from fucking things up.
  • Reply 9 of 121
    conradjoeconradjoe Posts: 1,887member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    Not really.



    In practice, the board sets broad directions and the CEO is responsible to implement the broad directions of the board. If the Board is unhappy with the CEO, they can replace him, but that rarely happens when a company is doing well and following the broad guidelines of the board.



    The board doesn't say what happens in any real sense any more than you get to say which route your mail takes when you mail a letter to Boston. You set the direction, the people you employ do the day to day stuff.





    Why do you open the post with contrariness, only to repeat the points previously made?





    Never mind. Your motivations are both off-topic and not important.
  • Reply 10 of 121
    Apple and knowing how Steve Jobs ran Apple as a CEO would have had a roadmap laid out for at least the next five years and was'nt going to leave anything to chance, not even with the board. He did'nt with his personal life or his private life, why would he do it with a company that he co-founded.



    They know their roll and with Cook at the helm, both of them will follow the road map and not waver from it drastically.
  • Reply 11 of 121
    For some reason, I knew this kind of story would crop up as soon Steve was gone. "Oh goodie no more Steve, now we can change around apple!" No, no and NO. Apple got to where it is today because what they're doing is WORKING. Changing around the board, moving people in and out, etc is the DUMBEST thing they could do... apple is kicking butt just as they are, and they have been even without Jobs at the head. To change it now just because Steve is gone does not make any sense at all.



    Too many people want to play armchair CEO and decide how apple "should" work... do you think apple got the largest market cap in tech by listing to all these people? NO.



    The funny thing is I think Steve knew this kind of thing would happen, which is why he set up the Apple University. Some may say it's his ego. I think it's just smart– Jobs had a way of doing apple that revolutionized the business, and it's definitely a strategy I think apple should keep in the days ahead.
  • Reply 12 of 121
    Somehow "Business as usual" doesn't seem like a bad thing given the value of Apple and their products are top of the line. Apple will be fine in the short term but if you start bringing in "outsiders" that don't understand the business and start running it like every other corporation then that's what you'll end up with. The longterm future of Apple died last Wednesday.
  • Reply 13 of 121
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post


    The CEO serves at the pleasure of the Board of Directors. Not the other way around.



    The CEO is just an employee. The Board represents the owners of the company - which is mostly Wall Street Types. Big Mutual Funds, Pension Plans, Hedge Funds, other gigantic corporations, etc. Those are the ones who get to say what happens, not some CEO.



    Would that that were actually the case.



    JRagosta is absolutely spot on when he says the BOD set the general direction of the company, and that no doubt is in concert with what the officers of the company suggest (so in Apples recent case, given Jobs' excellent track record strategically, I'm sure the BOD pretty much rubber stamped what he said).



    I actually think it's not just Apple who should be wondering the direction for their board, but most companies. Boards of Directors are supposed to look after the broad interests of the shareholders, and I think they should also be looking out for the long term health of the company. It seems to me that in a lot of companies, the board are actually too close to the executives, and become a rubber stamp, that can be incredibly successful with a leader as impressive as Jobs, but not so good when combined with the likes of Carly Fiorina, who was allowed to cause damage to HP for far too long.



    I've never been able to decide whether or not I like the CEO being actually a member of the board, much less the Chairman. I think if the CEO has too much sway over the board, both in terms of setting the discussions, and appointing the board, it gives one person (the CEO) too much power. Again, with someone as gifted as Steve Jobs that's OK, but there seems to be far more CEO's who are average than they are Jobs.....
  • Reply 14 of 121
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by keyboard View Post


    This is the dumbest shit I've ever heard.



    Apple is now the most valuable company in the world - but somehow the board needs to mix things up, and start playing a greater role in the running of the company?



    A recipe for disaster.



    Apple didn't get to where it is due to a meddling, over-involved BOD.



    The Board needs to offer all it's support to Tim and his team, and then stand back and refrain from fucking things up.



    No, Apple got to where it is due to a staggeringly gifted CEO. We don't know if they have that now (they have a staggeringly gifted operations guy who is the CEO, but that doesn't mean he'll be an incredible CEO). I hope they do, but Apple would be foolish to not at least ask the question of how they best optimize themselves post Jobs.



    That said, I suspect Steve Jobs gave pretty clear guidance as to what he thought should be done.
  • Reply 15 of 121
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,174member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post


    The CEO serves at the pleasure of the Board of Directors. Not the other way around.



    That's only true if the board is given that power. Jobs set up this board so that they were advisers, not controllers, in many respects. One of the things he may have kept in the CEO's power was all design and manufacture issues. Even the power to turn that over to the board could be in the CEO's hands. It's all in the bylaws and contracts
  • Reply 16 of 121
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by keyboard View Post


    Apple didn't get to where it is due to a meddling, over-involved BOD.



    You want to get all Many-Worlds Theory about it, they really did. Had the original board not outed Jobs, he would have stuck around and would never have bought Pixar, started NeXT, come back (because he was already there), created Mac OS X, or anything else post-Second Hiring.



    But, uh… yeah, they don't need to do anything like that again; you're right.
  • Reply 17 of 121
    Things are going so terribly wrong with the way Apple has been running things the last few years so it must be time for extreme change!
  • Reply 18 of 121
    conradjoeconradjoe Posts: 1,887member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by enjourni View Post


    Too many people want to play armchair CEO and decide how apple "should" work...






    The owners of Apple, the Hedge Funds and Pension Plans, will decide how Apple WILL work. They will do it by appointing a BOD.



    Apple is a huge corporation, and it exists to generate profits. It is not a shrine. It is not a club. It is not a lifestyle or a fashion statement.



    The big moneyed Wall Street interests can and will decide the direction that their investment will take. Its nothing different than, say, Dow Chemical or Exxon Mobil. The people who play armchair CEO are ignored. Corp[orations obey the Golden Rule: Them that got the gold make the rules.
  • Reply 19 of 121
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,174member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by enjourni View Post


    For some reason, I knew this kind of story would crop up as soon Steve was gone. "Oh goodie no more Steve, now we can change around apple!" No, no and NO.



    I wouldn't be too worried. This is a bunch of ANALysts and 'experts' talking out of their butts about what they would do. But remember they also said Apple would have to license OS X and iOS or go bankrupt because folks wouldn't buy Apple designed hardware etc.



    Apple does what Apple wants, it's the way Steve trained them. Maybe in a few years they will change that if they feel it isn't working. But right now it is and no one there would did Steve by changing a working game before the body/ashes are cold and buried
  • Reply 20 of 121
    pokepoke Posts: 506member
    The board and the shareholders are Apple's single worst enemy now.



    Maybe it's time to use all that cash to take Apple private.
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