updated 06:50 pm EDT, Tue June 24, 2008
Fortune: Steve's successor
With concerns about Steve Jobs' health surfacing again after his gaunt appearance at Apple's World Wide Developers Conference earlier this month, Fortune has put together a list of 11 possible successors -- all of them from inside the company. While Apple has said Jobs made a complete recovery from a rare form of pancreatic cancer following surgery in 2004, it hasn’t stopped widespread speculation in the media, and may be impacting Apple’s stock price. So, it’s not surprising that even the old media financial press is asking who could fill Jobs' shoes. At the top of Fortune’s list: Jobs’ right-hand man Tim Cook, Apple's Chief Operating Officer.
Cook’s “deep knowledge of Apple operations has won him the respect of the board of directors and the investment community,” Fortune writes, but some are concerned he lacks the charisma needed to run Apple. Cook has already been put to the test once, he ran the show while Jobs was recovering from surgery four years ago.
Next on Fortune’s list are three more top Apple Lieutenants: Tony Fadell, Ron Johnson and Phil Schiller. Fadell is senior Vice President of the iPod division. According his Apple biography, Fadellwas the first member of the iPod engineering team when it was formed in 1991. Before that, he held a variety of positions mostly dealing with Windows Mobile devices. Fortune says it was Fadell who came up with the idea of combining a Napster-like music store with a hard-drive mp3 player, and successfully sold the idea to Apple.
Ron Johnson has an equally impressive track record in a different specialty: retailing. Already a sucessful executive at Target, Johnson joined Apple in 2000, and is the driving force behind Apple's hugely-profitable retail stores. The report notes Johnson gets points for being a charismatic speaker.
Anyone who has watched a Steve Jobs Keynote speech over the past few years probably knows Phil Schiller's name. His Apple press bio credits Schiller with helping restore Apple’s reputation as an innovator by “delivering breakthrough products such as the iMac, MacBook, Airport, Xserve, Mac OS X, Safari, Apple TV, iPod and iPhone. But if his Keynote performances are any indication, Schiller looks more like Ed MacMahon than Johnny Carson.
Next on the list, three more Apple executives with impressive resumes: Scott Forstall, Jonathan Ive and Peter Oppenhiemer. Forstall left NeXT along with Jobs when he returned to Apple in 1997 and sheparded the team that created Mac OS X Leopard, and is currently Senior Vice President of iPhone Software. Design guru Jonathan Ive is credited as a major force behind Apple’s much celebrated and award-winning product design, but Fortune says he is an unlikely candidate to replace Jobs -- even though Apple employees strongly support him -- because of his intense shyness and desire for personal privacy. Ives is so private, says Fortune, that Apple’s HR Deparment doesn’t even know his exact birthdate. Rounding out this group is Apple’s Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenhiemer the former Coopers & Lybrand executive who replaced CFO Fred Anderson during the stock-backdating scandal.
The bottom four on Fortune's list of possible sucessors to Steve Jobs: Bertrand Serlet, Senior VP of software engineering, Sina Tammaddon, VP of applications, Daniel Cooperman, Senior VP , General Counsel and Secretary and Bob Mansfield Senior VP of Mac hardware engineering. With Job’s powerful grip on everything Apple -- when the time does come for him to step down -- his successor is going to have no easy time filling Steve's shoes.