IT Management: Picking Steve Jobs' Replacement as Apple CEO: 10 Leading Candidates
Picking Steve Jobs Replacement as Apple CEO: 10 Leading Candidates
by Don Reisinger
Lets just get the obvious choice out of the way: Tim Cook. Apples COO has been put in charge of the company when Steve Jobs leaves. He has also been the executive Jobs sends out to events when he doesnt go. Cook knows Apple inside and out, and seems the best choice for the companys board if it wants to maintain the same corporate culture going forward.
Phil Schiller is another top executive at Apple. As the companys senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, he has been integral to the success of several of Apples products over the years. Schiller is a champion of Apple products the way Steve Jobs is. He might just be the cheerleader Apple needs to lead it after Steve Jobs leaves.
Steve Wozniak might not have been involved in Apple management for a long time, but at least has earned some consideration by Apples board of directors. Not only does he share the same love for Apple that Jobs does, but also he co-founded the company. If the board wants to reassure investors that its going to stick with Jobs sensibilities with its next CEO, Wozniak seems like a fine choice. Perhaps most importantly, as CEO, Apple can free Wozniak up to manage the companys strategy, and leave others, like Tim Cook, to manage day-to-day operations. Its a win-win.
If there is any person that has helped Steve Jobs to become one of the best product innovators in the world, its Jonathan Ive. As Apples senior vice president of industrial design, Ive is the leading visionary on Apples design team that has helped the company become the cool firm it is today. Ives importance to Apple cannot be underestimated, and if he were to become CEO, he would likely carry on Steve Jobs tradition of offering premium products with an outstanding design.
Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer might be one of the more practical, but perhaps least charismatic, choices in this roundup. As the CFO of Apple, Oppenheimer has a firm grasp on how to run the company well. He isnt involved in the creative process, but by making him CEO, he can run day-to-day operations and leave others, like Jonathan Ive, available to keep churning out top products.
If there is any person at Apple that has single-handedly transformed its business from a financial perspective, its Ron Johnson. Prior to joining Apple, Johnson held management positions at Target, making him one of the more respected retail executives in the U.S. After coming to Apple, he helped lead the companys retail strategy, which has proven to be a cash cow for the firm. Given Johnsons track record, its unlikely that many investors would take issue with him becoming CEO.
As the senior vice president for iPhone software, Scott Forstall could be one of the most important people at Apple. Forstall is the leader of Apples iOS development, and given the success of the companys platform, deserves much of the accolades the mobile operating system receives. Going forward, Apples iOS will be integral to its business. And who knows it better than Forstall? As CEO, he could use his expertise and vision to carry Apple beyond the Steve Jobs years.
Bertrand Serlet is Apples senior vice president of software engineering. In that capacity, he leads the companys software development. Perhaps more importantly, he has worked alongside Steve Jobs for over 20 years, first joining Apples co-founder at Next in 1989. Given that history, and considering his role as a "key player" in the development of Mac OS X, Serlet might be a fine choice for Apple.
If Apples board of directors wants to look beyond its own employees to find a suitable replacement for Steve Jobs, then Sanjay Jha, chairman and CEO of Motorola Mobility, might be a fine choice. Since joining Motorola, Jha has cemented the companys position as the best competition to Apple and its iPhone. Jha has proven that he has a vision and knows how to innovate on designtwo qualities that would make him a fine replacement for Steve Jobs.
Eric Schmidt might be running Google, but that doesnt mean he isnt on the Apple board of directors radar. First off, Schmidt has proven that he can run a major company with ease. Secondly, he was formerly a member of Apples board of directors, which means he might have a better understanding of the companys inner workings than some of the other candidates for the job. Schmidt is arguably the biggest long-shot in the Apples boards candidate list, but given his history at the company and his appeal on Wall Street, hes undoubtedly someone that the board might consider for the position.