Apple Appoints Chairman As Jobs’ Successor

Apple board member and Genentech chairman Arthur Levinson has been appointed as the non-executive chairman of Apple. He replaces Steve Jobs for whom the role was created just two months before his death.

The vacant directorship left by Levinson, a long-term Apple board member, will be filled by Robert Iger, president and CEO of Walt Disney. Through his acquisition and sale of Pixar, Jobs was the largest shareholder in the Disney company and held a seat on Disney’s board.

A steadying hand

During Jobs’ illness stock market analysts speculated about the future of Apple without its iconic leader so it was important for the vacant boardroom seats to be filled as quickly and effectively as possible. Apple CEO Tim Cook and chief designer Jonathan Ive are seen as safe hands and the introduction of Levinson and Iger adds depth and experience to shore up any wavering confidence.

Levinson (pictured) is a long-term Apple board member who showed his loyalty in 2009 by opting for Apple over Google. A USfederal investigation forced the choice but Levinson had been a member of Apple’s board since 2000, only joining Google’s board in 2004.

Levinson has been a co-director of Apple’s board since 2005 and has served on all three board committees – audit and finance, nominating and corporate governance, and compensation. He will continue to serve on the audit committee.

Levinson said, “Apple is always focused on out-innovating itself through the delivery of truly innovative products that simplify and improve our lives, and that is something I am very proud to be a part of.”

Media expertise

Iger is also an Apple faithful having repaired a rift with Disney. Under the previous direction of Michael Eisner, Jobs had abandoned Disney when he and Eisner could not agree a new contract between the media giant and Pixar – which was adding greatly to Disney’s bottom line. When Iger took over, he made Disney’s ABC shows available to iTunes and then led the company’s buy-out of Pixar from Jobs for $7.4 billion (£4.7bn).

His appointment on Apple’s board will further cement the close relationship between Disney’s media interests and Apple’s ambitions to become a major distributor of content.

Iger (pictured) said, “Over the years, I have come to know and admire the management team, now ably led by Tim Cook, and I am confident they have the leadership and vision to ensure Apple’s continued momentum and success.”

The underlying message is that Apple is preparing itself to maintain its new-found leadership as a hardware, software and content provider. Levinson’s promotion shows that Apple is not about to change its direction and Iger brings expertise and contacts in the media markets.

Eric Doyle, ChannelBiz

Eric is a veteran British tech journalist, currently editing ChannelBiz for NetMediaEurope. With expertise in security, the channel, and Britain's startup culture, through his TechBritannia initiative

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