back to article Apple shareholders call for transparent CEO 'succession plans'

Apple is advising its shareholders to vote against a proposal to reveal a “succession-planning policy” for the company’s CEO. Meanwhile, the firm’s current boss Steve Jobs, who owns 5.5m shares in the iPhone maker, saw $1 slipped into his pay packet in 2010. That figure matches the annual reward he has received since 1997 for …


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  1. MinionZero

    Self-fulfilling prophecy

    This idea of hiding the succession-planning policy, saying it would undermine this and that ironically just adds to the idea that Steve Jobs is so centrally important to the company. Its exactly the opposite message of what they should be doing as a company. They would do well to slowly down play the idea that Steve Jobs is so central to the company, because if anything did ever suddenly happen to him or he simply wanted to retire, then the current way Apple have built up his centrally important status, that inflated image of him could seriously backfire and hurt their company.

    Imagine if some sudden bad news appeared about him, like say he was suddenly found dead or was found to be terminally ill. The way Apple are playing it and have played it all along, such bad news could cause the collapse of their company. Their share price would we wiped out in hours.

    I don't think they (the Apple top people) are doing Steve Jobs or Apple a service in the longer term by hiding this information now. They should be openly and slowly discussed what possible succession-plans are in place now, so that if or when the time comes (even if that's a decade or more from now), its not such a massive shock to the company image when it does finally occur. That would help protect the company's future.

    1. David Dawson
      Jobs Horns

      Yeah, Apple's stock price will collapse

      Its not like they've got massive cash reserves and several very profitable and distinct revenue streams. Not at all.

      It'll take a dip, sure, but collapse? come on.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Jobs Halo

        Collapse is a bit strong

        as it suggests an overnight fall. But without Jobs- or someone very much like him- Apple will go the way of Microsoft. By this I mean the accountants and the "ooh, lets stick the same thing out again with a '.1' appended to it and see if anyone notices!" brigade. You know, like what happened when Ballamer took over MS- no more underlying visions, no more hugely special projects, much more pandering to what the markets want now than what will lead to longer-term stability.

        All great empires fell after bureaucracy took over from people with vision. MS is going that way, and Apple will go that way too without Jobs (or another visionary... but another visionary in the upper echelons of Apple is pretty unlikely as any differences between his vision and Job's would have caused a whole heap of grief.)

        (I'm using the term Visionary pretty loosely, I know.)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @david Dawson

        Royal Bank of Scotland had wads of cash, right up until one bad decision (the purchase of ABN Amro) was rubber-stamped by the board and the regulator. So, Apple could go bust if they keep up the current treatment of Steve Jobs as nigh on infallible and he makes a bad decision.

        Oh, and that cash belongs to the shareholders, not the board, company as a whole or COE himself.

  2. Dave Murray
    Jobs Horns

    Nothing to see here

    They're just scared everyone will find out they don't have a plan and the stock will become worthless next time El Steverino has a cold.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    search for anyone in management who is always wearing a black shirt

    and you will find the next CEO

  4. L1feless

    I can see why

    Apple, Google & Facebook are all on a whirlwind to try and acquire top new talent. The last thing Apple wants to do is announce that one of its top execs. is going to be the next CEO only to have its top rivals zero in on the remaining leaders there. Apple is also at a delicate stage in its growth where you can clearly see they are trying to expand and if they were to announce the successor to Steve now they would likely see share prices fall. Bad for the bottom-line.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It seems reasonable for a shareholder to ask and it seems equally reasonable to be told: we need to keep the matter(s) confidential for best interests of the company, shareholders and employees.

    I suppose an exception is if present CEO has given notice to quit but I can't imagine Mr Jobs doing that too soon - he seems to be having too much fun :-)

    I suppose contingencies are in place to cater for unexpected events or eventualities but even then it seems reasonable to make appeals to confidentiality?

  6. Alex 14

    You're a title.

    I'd have thought the CLPF would know better than to ask Apple for transparent *anything*. Whether or not one thinks they should make public succession plans, it's a pretty darn safe bet that they won't.

    It's just not their way.

  7. Paw Bokenfohr

    Doesn't make any sense

    Perhaps I'm naive, but why would any company want to publish who its got in line for any sort of promotion in the future?

    Either you piss off people who aren't named who thought they should be, or, your competitors get a list of people to try to poach because you find them so valuable, or, more likely, both.

    Kind of also feels a little ghoulish when talking about potential Apple CEOs waiting-in-the-wings, almost like people are hovvering over Steve Jobs' death bed or something. Just a little distasteful...

  8. Red Bren
    Jobs Horns

    Offloading deadwood

    They could put some under-performing middle manager on a phoney executive fast-tracking scheme then leak that he is the CEO in waiting. Some other corporate sucker gets lumbered when they head hunt him and Apple are laughing.

  9. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    I thought it was obvious

    We're supposed to look for the kid wearing the general's uniform^W^W black turtleneck at the next Apple keynote.

  10. JaitcH

    Apple's board just a bunch of sycophants who follow, not ....


    Apple is pretty unique in that it is a public company that is run like a private fiefdom.

    Jobs' challenge is to pull another 'magical' trick out of his bag every year and one big enough to generate income of sufficient size to satisfy the ever increasing expectations of shareholders avarice.

    Every market Apple creates, or develops in the case of pads seeing how the Chinese and Japanese were first, will always shrink as others exploit the weaknesses/omissions of Apple offerings. Jobs fetish in maintaining control will always result in opportunities for others as potential customers opt for freedom of choice.

    The union who is using it shareholding to push for transparency is right in it's demands as it will hopefully focus the board on it's fiduciary obligations.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Don't wait until he's dead

    Apple need to be planning a successor now, as he's becoming a serious threat to the continued success of company while still alive.

    After seeing the 1984 Macintosh advert again recently, I was struck by realisation that things have come full circle, it's now Big Brother Jobs sitting on high dictating to the masses what applications they can and can't run on iPhone and Mac. Google are already running towards the screen with a hammer, and it wont take long for the Mac store to whip up serious resentment about desktop applications.

    So Apple, get someone ready before Steve completely losses the plot.

  12. SE

    Jobs leaving can't be a good thing...

    ... for El Reg's headline writers, at least.

  13. Jeff 11
    Black Helicopters

    Share prices

    Steve Jobs' retirement or death will certainly hurt the company, but the impact of this could be mitigated in so many ways. For example its growing slush fund might be able to buffer any short term share fluctuations, as Apple can ultimately start releasing dividends if it wants to boost investor confidence, or it can unleash something 'magical and revolutionary' on the market to deflect the hit.

    Without trying to sound like a conspiracy nut, Jobs' hiaitus may even be designed to show off the talent under him and groom potential successors. If they can deliver a significantly better iPhone or some other gadget this year (June) without him it might make the succession less of an issue further down the line.

    @SE, I concur. Imagine them no longer able to describe everything as Jobsian! Methinks the Reg better get some succession contingency plans of their own ;-)

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