Apple Board to Discuss Empty Seat

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple’s Board of Directors will meet Tuesday concerning the vacancy left by Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s departure. Schmidt resigned two weeks ago over potential conflicts of interest between Google and Apple.

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The Journal is also reporting — really, stating the obvious — that Apple COO Tim Cook tops the short list of candidates. Cook, who ran Apple’s day-to-day operations during Steve Job’s absence earlier this year, would be the second board member actually working the for the company. Looking at the current board, he seems like an excellent choice.

  • Bill Campbell, Chairman and former CEO of Intuit Corp., is probably a head scratcher for anyone forced to use Quicken for the Mac. He used to work for Apple and came with Jobs when the latter returned in 1997.
  • Millard Drexler, Chairman and CEO of J. Crew, has arguably contributed to the success of the company. He played a part in bringing the retail stores into being.
  • Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States and current environmental advocate, perhaps keeps Greenpeace from coming down too hard on Apple. His name definitely brings stature to the company.
  • Steve Jobs, Apple CEO, has done nothing less than save the company from destruction.
  • Andrea Jung, Chairman and CEO of Avon, is the token female if you are cynical, a breath of fresh air if not. Before running Avon, a company selling cosmetics that is about a tenth the size of Apple, she was a VP at Neiman Marcus — still not seeing the fit with Apple. Jung also serves on the board of GE, though, so there is that.
  • Arthur D. Levinson, Chairman of Genentech, is another mystery, though he may not be on the board much longer, or at least a board. Levinson also serves on the board of Google.
  • Jerry York, Chairman, President and CEO Harwinton Capital, has some business chops. Being a former CFO for both IBM and Chysler, he also served on the board of GM. York was a part of the return of Jobs in 1997, too.

Considering the control Steve Jobs asserts over the company, in a sense it’s hard to see how the board matters. However, if considerations include a possible successor to Steve Jobs as CEO at some point in the future — distant future, hopefully — Cook, 49, again seems a logical choice.

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