Apple Board Gains Finance Pro Susan Wagner, as Bill Campbell Retires

Apple's board of directors is saying good-bye to longtime adviser Bill Campbell and hello to BlackRock co-founder Susan Wagner and her M&A experience.


Bill Campbell, Apple's longest-serving board member, hand-picked for the task by Steve Jobs 17 years ago, is retiring, Apple announced July 17. Susan Wagner, a founding partner and director of asset-management firm BlackRock, has been elected to the board.

Apple CEO Tim Cook called Campbell's contributions to Apple "immeasurable," and in a statement thanked him for being "a leader, a mentor and a friend."

"When Bill joined Apple's board, the company was on the brink of collapse," Cook added. "He not only helped Apple survive, but he's led us to a level of success that was simply unimaginable back in 1997."

Campbell, among other leadership roles, was president and CEO of Intuit, the solutions provider behind Quicken, QuickBooks and TurboTax.

Ahead of the announcement, Campbell spoke with Fortune magazine about his friendship with Jobs and how he came to join the Apple board. The two were neighbors in Palo Alto, Calif., and Jobs would sometimes walk over to Campbell's house for a chat, or head into Campbell's backyard to sit down by the pool and think.

"I watched him emerge as a CEO in real time. I had a continuum with him. I watched him when he was general manger of the Mac division and when he went off and started NeXT," Campbell told Fortune. "I watched Steve go from being a creative entrepreneur to a guy who had to run a business."

Sitting on a bench near Campbell's pool one day in 1997, Jobs asked Campbell to join the Apple board—a moment he described as "a rush."

The invitation brought Campbell back to a very different Apple than he had known in 1983, when then-CEO John Sculley hired him to head Apple's marketing team.

"The company today is in the best shape that I have seen it," Campbell said in a statement, "and Tim's leadership of his strong team will allow Apple to continue to be great going forward."

New, Younger Perspectives

Cook has been "actively seeking" new directors to add to Apple's eight-person board, The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month, noting that six of the seven outside directors are 63 or older. Four have been on the board for more than a decade.

Wagner (aged 53), brings needed finance expertise to the board, which currently includes executives from J. Crew, Genentech and Disney.

She's held a variety of positions at BlackRock. In addition to co-founding it, she served as co-COO, was its head of corporate strategy and coordinated "strategic initiatives, its initial public offering, the acquisitions and joint ventures in Japan, China and India," according to her Businessweek profile.

In 2011, Forbes included Wagner on its list of the most powerful women in business, noting that she drove BlackRock's 2009 acquisition of Barclays Global Investors, a major factor "in more than doubling profits."

She currently sits on several boards, including those of BlackRock, DSP BlackRock (in India) and Swiss Re, a provider of insurance, reinsurance and other forms of what it calls "risk transfer."

Welcoming Wagner, Cook said in his statement, "We believe her strong experience, especially in [mergers and acquisitions] and building a global business across both developed and emerging markets, will be extremely valuable as Apple continues to grow around the world."

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