Excerpts: Apple’s Reclusive Chairman Joins CEO on the Hot Seat as Firm Seeks to Regain Footing
- As Apple Computer lurches along in crisis mode, beset by losses, operational problems, executive departures and incessant takeover rumors, more and more observers are questioning the leadership not only of much-maligned Chief Executive Michael Spindler, but of the company’s reclusive chairman, Armas C. “Mike” Markkula Jr.
- The unsung third founder of Apple, Markkula is a onetime Intel marketing executive who provided timely financing and adult supervision to wunderkinds Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs. He’s always been the kingmaker at Apple, the man who hired and fired CEOs, but his reclusive ways have recently left many wondering whether anyone is in charge at all.
- Former Apple executives and others in the small circle of people who know Markkula say he has a special affection for Spindler, which may explain his reluctance to take decisive action. The two men are former engineers who share a love of talking about technology, something that Markkula could not do with former PepsiCo marketeer Sculley.
- “If Spindler does go, it will be gently,” said a former Apple executive. “Mike loves Spindler.”
- “Mike [Markkula] is a recluse. He doesn’t know what’s going on. He doesn’t know who’s cutting the deals,” said one Apple insider. In the rare meeting he has with Apple employees, Markkula is often quiet, and his silence sometimes makes others uncomfortable, sources say.
Source: Los Angeles Times