Apple leadership

Today in Apple history: Massive layoffs clear out Apple’s ‘bozo explosion’

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This was one of the worst (and one of the most significant) days in Apple history.
Photo: Bonhams

February 25 Today in Apple history: Apple layoffs: Black Wednesday clears out the 'bozo explosion' February 25, 1981: Apple CEO Michael Scott oversees a mass firing of employees, then holds a massive party. The Apple layoffs follow a hiring boom that led to what Scott called a “bozo explosion” at the company. They also stand as an early sign that the fun startup culture of Apple’s early days are gone forever.

“I used to say that when being CEO at Apple wasn’t fun anymore, I’d quit,” he tells a crowd of Apple staffers. “But now I’ve changed my mind — when being CEO isn’t fun anymore, I’ll just fire people until it is fun again.”

For many people at Apple, the day is the worst in company history.

Today in Apple history: Steve Wozniak survives a plane crash

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The Woz tells it like it is.
A plane crash marked the beginning of a leave of absence for Woz.
Photo: Universal Pictures

February 7: Today in Apple history: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak survives a plane crash February 7, 1981: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is involved in a serious plane crash in California, resulting in his first lengthy leave of absence from the company.

At the time, Wozniak is flying a turbocharged, single-engine, six-seat Beechcraft Bonanza A36TC. In the plane with Woz is his fiancé, Candi Clark, her brother and her brother’s girlfriend. Fortunately, nobody dies in the crash, although Woz suffers minor head injuries.

Today in Apple history: Gil Amelio takes over as CEO

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Bringing on Gil Amelio was viewed as a big coup for the Apple board.
Many viewed new CEO Gil Amelio as the man to save Apple.
Photo: Apple

February 2: Today in Apple history: Gil Amelio takes over as Apple CEO February 2, 1996: Apple reveals that turnaround artist Gil Amelio will take over from Michael “The Diesel” Spindler as CEO of the struggling company.

With disappointing Mac sales, the disastrous “clone Mac” strategy and a failed Sun Microsystems merger to his name, Spindler is asked to resign by the Apple board. Then Cupertino enlists supposed corporate miracle worker Amelio for the job.

Unfortunately, he turns out to be no better than Spindler.

Today in Apple history: ‘The Diesel’ becomes Apple COO

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Apple CEO Michael Spindler headed the company during trying times in the 1990s.
Michael Spindler's COO promotion put him on the path to being named future chief executive.
Image: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

January 29: Today in Apple history: Michael H. Spindler, aka 'The Diesel,' is named new Apple COO January 29, 1990: Apple CEO John Sculley appoints Michael H. Spindler as the company’s new chief operating officer.

Nicknamed “The Diesel” on account of his work ethic, Spindler’s new job continues his upward trajectory at Apple. Three years later, he will become CEO.

20-year veteran Apple VP of Engineering departs

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DJ Novotney, former Apple VP of Engineering, is headed off to EV-maker Rivian.
DJ Novotney, former Apple VP of Engineering, is headed off to EV-maker Rivian.
Photo: LinkedIn

DJ Novotney first started at Apple in June 1999, and now he’s been lured away by electric-car-maker Rivian.

Over his two decades  with the company, he helped design many iconic Apple products, including iPod, iPhone, iPad and more.

Who will lead Apple when Tim Cook steps down? [The CultCast]

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Who will take over when Tim Cook finally steps down as Apple CEO? Apparently, he has some ideas.
Who will take over when Tim Cook finally steps down as Apple CEO? Apparently, he has some ideas.
Image: Cult of Mac

This week on Cult of Mac’s podcast: Tim Cook recently said Apple has “very detailed” succession plans for when he eventually steps down as CEO. Plus, the company definitely plans to hire from within. That got us thinking … who’s next in Apple’s game of thrones?

Also on The CultCast:

  • OLED screens might come to iPad Air and iPad mini somewhat soonish.
  • Europe’s busybody technocrats have some more grand plans for Apple and other manufacturers. We’ve got mixed emotions.
  • Sonos reportedly wants to take on Apple TV and AirPods Max with rival products.

Listen to this week’s episode of The CultCast in the Podcasts app or your favorite podcast app. (Be sure to subscribe and leave us a review if you like it!) Or watch the video live stream, embedded below.

Today in Apple history: Turnaround artist Gil Amelio joins Apple’s board

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Bringing on Gil Amelio was viewed as a big coup for the Apple board.
Bringing on Gil Amelio was viewed as a big coup for the Apple board.
Photo: Apple

November 9: Today in Apple history: Gil Amelio joins Apple board of directors November 9, 1994: Gil Amelio, a businessman with a reputation as a talented turnaround artist, joins Apple’s board.

Coming off his impressive revitalization of two other tech companies, National Semiconductor and Rockwell International, Amelio’s appointment at Apple sparks widespread celebration. Many Apple watchers think his arrival means the company’s dark days are over. Sadly, Amelio’s turnaround tricks won’t work in Cupertino.

Today in Apple history: Scott Forstall gets forced out of Apple

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Forstall
The disastrous Apple Maps showed Scott Forstall the way out of Cupertino.
Photo: Apple

October 29: Today in Apple history: Scott Forstall gets forced out of Apple after disastrous Apple Maps launch October 29, 2012: Scott Forstall, Apple’s senior vice president of iOS software, is ousted from the company after the disastrous Apple Maps launch.

Apple divvies up the roles previously handled by Forstall, who once seemed on a path to the top, among other high-level execs. Jony Ive assumes leadership of the Human Interface team. Craig Federighi becomes head of iOS software. Eddy Cue takes control of Maps and Siri. And Bob Mansfield “unretires” to lead a new technology group.

Today in Apple history: CEO John Sculley bids Apple a $10 million farewell

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Former Apple CEO John Sculley talks at Web Summit 2015 in Dublin, Ireland.
After Steve Jobs and Tim Cook, John Sculley is Apple's most memorable CEO.
Photo: Web Summit/Flickr CC

October 15: Today in Apple history: CEO John Sculley forced out of Apple October 15, 1993: John Sculley, the former CEO responsible for forcing Steve Jobs out of Apple, is forced to leave the company himself.

When Sculley resigns as Apple’s chairman, he takes $1 million in severance pay, a one-year consulting fee of $750,000, a commitment from Apple to buy his $4 million mansion and $2 million Lear jet, and $2.4 million in stock options. Total take: around $10 million.

Today in Apple history: Tim Cook becomes Apple’s chief operating officer

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Tim Cook
Tim Cook was on his way to the top spot at Apple.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

October 14: Today in Apple history October 14, 2005: Tim Cook takes the reins as Apple’s chief operating officer, continuing an upward climb through the company’s ranks that will make him CEO less than six years later.

“Tim and I have worked together for over seven years now, and I am looking forward to working even more closely with him to help Apple reach some exciting goals during the coming years,” Steve Jobs says in a statement.

Today in Apple history: CEO Michael Spindler denies Apple is a ‘lame duck’

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Apple CEO Michael Spindler headed the company during trying times in the 1990s.
Apple faced big challenges during the Michael Spindler era.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

October 3: Today in Apple history: CEO Michael Spindler denies Apple is a 'lame-duck company' October 3, 1994: Apple CEO Michael Spindler reassures the world that Apple “is not a lame-duck company.”

Why would anyone suspect that it is? The answer lies in Apple’s collapsing Mac sales, massive layoffs and a $188 million quarterly loss. At 15 months into his stint as CEO, Spindler wants to reassure everyone that the worst is over.

Sadly, things will decline further before they start to turn around.

Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs leaves and rejoins Apple

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Steve Jobs before and after, with maybe a little judgement about water sales.
Two significant days in Jobs' career took place on this day.
Photo: Fulvio Obregon

September 16: Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs leaves and rejoins Apple September 16, 1985 and 1997: Twice on this day, Steve Jobs makes significant moves with regard to his career at Apple. In 1985, he quits the company he co-founded. Then, a little more than a decade later, he officially rejoins Apple as its new interim CEO.

In terms of the emotions associated with those historic occasions, it’s hard to think of two more polarizing days in Jobs’ life.

Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs resigns as Apple CEO

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Why Salesforce chief gave up AppStore.com for Apple
Steve Jobs' health wouldn't allow him to continue as CEO.
Photo: Ben Stanfield/Flickr CC

August 24: Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs resigns as Apple CEO August 24, 2011: With his health worsening, a cancer-stricken Steve Jobs steps down from his role leading Apple. Tim Cook assumes the role of Apple’s seventh CEO.

“I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know,” Jobs writes in his retirement letter to the Apple board. “Unfortunately that day has come.”

Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs begins his path back to the top

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Steve_Jobs_2007
This marked the start of Apple's turnaround.
Photo: Ben Stanfield/Flickr CC

July 8: Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs begins his journey to Apple CEO July 8, 1997: Steve Jobs begins his path to becoming chief executive officer of Apple, after former CEO Gil Amelio departs the company following a massive quarterly loss. Also leaving Apple is Ellen Hancock, executive vice president of technology.

To run Apple’s day-to-day operations, CFO Fred Anderson takes over until a new CEO can be found. Jobs, meanwhile, moves from strategic adviser to take “a more expanded role with Apple’s board and executive management team,” according to CNN Money.

Cupertino’s turnaround has started!

Today in Apple history: After a horrible quarter, Gil Amelio gets the boot

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Bringing on Gil Amelio was viewed as a big coup for the Apple board.
This was the end of Amelio's 500 days running Apple.
Photo: Apple

July 6: Today in Apple history: After a horrible quarter, Apple CEO Gil Amelio is fired July 6, 1997: Following a massive quarterly loss for Apple, board member Edgar S. Woolard Jr. calls CEO Gil Amelio and informs him that he needs to step down. “You’ve done a lot to help the company, but the sales haven’t rebounded,” Woolard says.

Steve Jobs, who recently returned to the company he co-founded, denies being responsible for Amelio’s ouster. However, the move results in Jobs becoming Apple CEO for the first time. Now it’s time for a real turnaround!

Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs attempts a boardroom coup

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Jobs
Sadly for Steve, things didn't work in his favor.
Photo: Esther Dyson/Flickr CC

May 23: Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs attempts a boardroom coup May 23, 1985: Bitter about being ousted from his position running the Macintosh division, Steve Jobs attempts to stage a coup to seize control of Apple from CEO John Sculley.

The 30-year-old Apple co-founder plans to overthrow Sculley while the CEO is away on a business trip in China. Unfortunately for Jobs, he makes a critical mistake when he tries to recruit the support of Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassée, who informs Sculley of the plot.

It’s the beginning of the end for Jobs’ first tenure at Apple.

Today in Apple history: John Sculley brings ‘Pepsi Generation’ marketing to Apple

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john-sculley
John Sculley served as Apple's third president and CEO.
Photo: Web Summit/Flickr CC

May 17: Today in Apple history: John Sculley starts as Apple CEO May 17, 1983: John Sculley takes the helm as Apple’s third president and CEO. The former Pepsi-Cola boss is short on tech experience but long on marketing, which will become increasingly important as the personal computer revolution ramps up.

Steve Jobs personally lured Sculley to Apple using one of the most famous lines in the history of business. “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water,” Jobs asked Sculley, “or do you want a chance to change the world?”

Today in Apple history: Newton boss departs as device struggles

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The Newton MessagePad looks gigantic next to an iPhone.
The Newton MessagePad did not become the immediate hit Apple desired.
Photo: Blake Patterson/Wikipedia CC

April 19 April 19, 1994: The executive in charge of Apple’s revolutionary new product line, the Newton MessagePad, parts ways with the company.

“We can’t say whether he fell or was pushed,” says an Apple spokesman. Reports suggest that the departing Gaston Bastiaens, general manager of Apple’s personal interactive electronics division, is leaving due to his failure to make the Newton a financial success.

Today in Apple history: Apple co-founder quits and cashes in his stake for $800

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Ron Wayne: today, and when he co-founded Apple in 1976
Ron Wayne today and when he co-founded Apple in 1976.
Photo: Ron Wayne

April 12: Today in Apple history: Apple co-founder Ron Wayne quits and cashes in his stake for $800 April 12, 1976: Apple’s third co-founder, a former Atari colleague of Steve Wozniak’s named Ron Wayne, cashes in his Apple shares for just $800.

Wayne, who owns a 10% stake in the company, throws in the towel after worrying that he doesn’t have the time or energy to properly invest in Apple. He later receives an extra $1,500 check to seal the deal. When he cashes it, he loses out on an investment that could have been worth billions.

“I was 40 and these kids were in their 20s,” Wayne told Cult of Mac decades later, referring to Wozniak and Steve Jobs. “They were whirlwinds — it was like having a tiger by the tail. If I had stayed with Apple I probably would have wound up the richest man in the cemetery.”

Today in Apple history: John Sculley takes over as Apple CEO

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Former Apple CEO John Sculley talks at Web Summit 2015 in Dublin, Ireland.
John Sculley goes from pushing Pepsi to running Apple.
Photo: Web Summit/Flickr CC

April 8: Today in Apple history: John Sculley takes over as Apple CEO April 8, 1983: John Sculley, former president of PepsiCo, takes charge as Apple’s third CEO.

Despite a total lack of experience selling tech products, Sculley is lured to Apple by Steve Jobs himself. The Apple co-founder famously pitched the Pepsi exec with the line, “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?”

Today in Apple history: CFO Peter Oppenheimer retires from Apple

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Peter
Peter Oppenheimer oversaw a decade of explosive growth at Apple.
Photo: C-SPAN

March 4: Today in Apple history: Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer retires March 4, 2014: Peter Oppenheimer, the Apple chief financial officer who presided over a decade of skyrocketing growth, steps down from the company.

After becoming Apple CFO in 2004, Oppenheimer saw the company’s valuation soar from $8.8 billion to $471 billion. Luca Maestri, current Apple senior vice president and chief financial officer, replaced Oppenheimer in this crucial position.

Apple hires new head of HR

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Apple hires new head of HR
Say hello to Carol Surface, the new Apple Chief People Officer.
Photo: Medtronic

Carol Surface is reportedly stepping in as Apple’s new Chief People Officer, the company’s term for head of human resources.

She’s taking over part of the responsibilities of Deirdre O’Brien who was previously both the HR chief and in charge of managing Apple’s retail store business.

Who will be Apple’s next Jony Ive? Nobody, apparently.

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A MacBook Air with ominous red lighting and a giant white question mark.
Apple apparently does not plan to replace departing industrial design chief Evans Hankey.
Photo: Adrian Regeci/Unsplash License

Apple reportedly stopped looking for a replacement industrial design chief. This is surprising, as it’s a high-profile position once held by Jony Ive, who led the team that created the iconic look of the iPhone, iMac and more.

The corporate rearrangement increases the power of Jeff Williams — Apple’s chief operating officer and possibly Tim Cook’s eventual replacement as CEO.

Cupertino recruits veteran Ford exec for Apple car team

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Ford took the Apple Car chief, now Cupertino takes another veteran leader from Ford.
Ford took the Apple car chief, now Cupertino takes another veteran leader from Ford.
Photo: Peter Trones/Unsplash License

Accelerating work on its self-driving electric vehicle project, Apple recruited veteran Ford engineer and executive Desi Ujkashevic to join the team.

The move comes after various stalls and road bumps in Cupertino’s secretive Project Titan in recent years, including Ford luring away Apple car chief Doug Field last year.

Apple loses head of Mac chip design to Intel

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Apple M1 chip
Someone who lead the switch to the M series of processors jumped ship to Intel.
Photo: Apple

The person responsible for overseeing the transition from Intel to Apple silicon left the company. Jeff Wilcox was Director, Mac System Architecture before his departure.

He summed up his previous role by saying he “led the transition for all Macs to Apple Silicon beginning with M1 chip.” That was one of the most important projects at Apple in recent years, though it’s one that’s wrapping up.