Apple noted in today's statement that Timothy Cook, who will be covering for Jobs during his leave of absence, will execute "exciting plans" the company has in place for 2011. There's no doubt Apple can live off Jobs' inventions, but that's a risky strategy that inevitably ends when you run out of Jobs' ideas a few years down the road.
While other tech companies publicly disclose their succession plans, Apple - the largest technology company in the world - refuses to talk about the next Steve Jobs. In addition, the company's board routinely rejects calls for disclosure coming from hedge funds and institutional investors with interest in the company.
Some media outlets, like Fortune, call Apple's operations chief Timothy Cook, 50, a former Compaq executive, as the most likely candidate for the CEO post. Other people, this author included, think Apple would be better served if Jonathan Ive, pictured on the right, takes the CEO job.
Ive's lack of leadership experience is a disadvantage and could prove problematic. However, if he can deliver a compelling vision that can prove a strong enough a pull to keep the fans interested in the company and its products - and providing Apple's current executive team backs him up by taking care of execution - Apple under Ive's leadership could weather the storm ahead smoothly.
Jobs called Ive during the iPhone 4 presentation "one of my best friends in the whole world" and the two men are deemed instrumental to Apple's fortune and a string of smash hits. While Ive possesses a different kind of stage personality, he doesn't come short in the charisma department like Cook and seems to share fanatical Jobs-esque dedication to making sexy gadgets people lust after, which is what the company is all about.
Steve Jobs makes the first public FaceTime call to Jonathan Ive, Apple's design guru, during the iPhone 4 unveiling last summer.
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