Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs starts Apple’s dramatic turnaround

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Jobs' turnaround of Apple was one of the most dramatic in corporate history.
Photo: Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview

July 7: Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs starts Apple's dramatic turnaround July 7, 1997: Apple CEO Gil Amelio officially steps down from his role, turning the company over to the returning Steve Jobs, who immediately begins making his presence felt.

If you’re looking to pinpoint a turning point when Apple began the transition from the ailing company it was in the first half of the 1990s to the powerhouse it is today, this is it!

Initially hailed as a positive hire, Amelio oversaw the worst period in Apple history from a financial perspective. During his reign, Apple suffered a $1.6 billion dollar loss that wiped out every bit of profit the company earned since fiscal 1991.

Steve Jobs reprices Apple stock options

When Apple announced Amelio’s departure on July 7, 1997, Jobs became the company’s de facto leader. His first big move as interim CEO was repricing all employee stock options to $13.81. That’s the price Apple stock traded at as markets closed on July 7.

This boosted morale, since it demonstrated that Jobs had faith he could turn the company around. It also meant that employee stock options were no longer valueless.

Apple’s board of directors resisted the repricing move. Jobs urged them to resign if they vehemently disagreed with his position.

Before long, he replaced almost the entire board at Apple. Jobs brought in Oracle founder Larry Ellison, ex-Intel and Chrysler CFO Jerry York and Intuit CEO Bill Campbell. The most notable departure was Mike Markkula, who had been involved with Apple since the very beginning. Apple announced the new board at August’s MacWorld event.

Jobs eventually dropped his interim “iCEO” label for good in 2000.