Steve Jobs resignation as CEO yesterday was no big surprise and our first thoughts – concern for his health and wellbeing – recognisably “nice feelings” for any CEO in the world of public or private enterprise is an oddity! We have a new name to carefully watch now in Tim Cook, immediate feelings of sorrow for Tim as it’s not a simple case of shoes that need filling. “In Steve we trust”? Apple have taken considerable time and effort to ensure their succession plans meet with shareholder confidence, so we will just have to wait see if Tim and the future direction of Apple is on par with Steve Jobs captaincy of the most valuable ship on the planet. Steve Jobs is for me one of the most recognizable faces, if not the face of value creation and his success in the world of work and technology, inspiring.
It is also interesting to note that his highest high’s have been at times arguably the toughest for anyone (returning to a struggling company, ill health, recession, …. ) and often times where others are chug-chugging along in unison with more of the same ….. cost cutting and employee culls. Readers may also enjoy some of my previous posts on Steve Jobs – Apple, Pixar and Decision Science or the Guardian
Is there any other CEO that has helped increase shareholder wealth as much? Fortune declared back in 2009, the last decade as The Decade of Steve. Such over-the-top statements are by nature intended to sell magazines, however the writer makes the valid point that very few leaders impact their industry like Apple has the computer industry, under Jobs leadership. Under his leadership Apple has also had a dramatic impact on the restructuring of other industries - music and mobile phones/computing/tablet. Another company Mr. Jobs founded, Pixar, had a major impact on restructuring the movie business. So with Mr. Jobs as leader, no less than 4/5 industries have been dramatically changed – and huge value created for shareholders.
Let’s take a handful of some the best CEO’s out there: No cost-cutting CEO (Jean-François van Boxmeer at Heinekin or Willie Walsh at British Airways arch nemesis’ Michael O Leary is probably best recent example of a game changer in the Airline Industry), no “focus on the core” CEO’s (Bart Beckt at Reckitt Benckiser or Stephen Elop at Nokia), no “execution” CEO’s (Mark Hurd at Oracle formerly HP or Peter Löscher at Siemens) can claim to have made the kind of industry changes that have occurred through businesses led by Steve Jobs.
Below two old video’s of Steve Jobs at a Stanford Graduation back in 2005 worth watching – if you visit the youtube page the comments are entertaining! The second video is a quick snapshot of what we will miss – Bill Gates is sitting alongside.
Marc Coleman is director of the Pan European HR Network. You can connect with Marc on twitter @HRNEurope or connect directly via LinkedIn. Marc’s recent productions include: HR Tech Europe and HRN World Talent. Recent news and views please visit the Pan European HR Network on LinkedIn.