Apple’s (AAPL.O) figurehead, the pinnacle of their publicity efforts and the man we (and investors) saw as the innovator and industrial leader in the modern technology world was Steve Jobs. Who steers the ship when he is no longer around?
Businesses go through many stages in their life from start-up to growth to expansion and during each phase there is a figurehead. What would happen to the business if they were “Hit by a bus”, or died?
Today Apple announced the resignation of Steve Jobs as CEO following a couple of years of uncertaintainty around his health including life threatening cancer and a liver transplant. On seeing Steve in the flesh this year at the WWDC in San Francisco he looked physically unwell. Touch wood that he has many more years on earth, but this event and its impact on the company could be considered a Hit by a bus moment.
Analysts say the 5% drop in stocks is by no means large, but in the same sentence they explain that “We do not believe Steve Jobs is replaceable”.
But like any well structured and prepared global company, the fall back plan was quickly executed with Tim Cook, COO and Jobs’ right hand man being appointed the top position. A proven executive with complete oversight into the entire Apple business. Nonetheless Jobs will continue to oversee the companies operations if he is elected Chairman.
So in summary, Apple will survive and it will continue to innovate the world of technology. Moving forward it will be interesting to see whether they choose to strategically appoint a single man to represent a global organisation.