What will Apple’s future be without Steve Jobs?

by Jessica Guynn and Dawn C. Chmielewski for Los Angeles Times, February 23rd, 2011.

Apple has been reluctant to talk publicly about Jobs’ medical problems. But the uncertainty around his latest leave of absence has unsettled investors, who will vote on a resolution that would force the Apple board to disclose its succession plans.

But when shareholders meet Wednesday at the company’s Cupertino, Calif., headquarters, the buzz will not be about Apple’s next sleek new gadget or soaring profits. Much of the talk will be about Chief Executive Steve Jobs and what Apple would do without him.

The secretive Apple has been reluctant to talk publicly about Jobs’ battle with a rare form of pancreatic cancer and a liver transplant. But the uncertainty shrouding his latest leave of absence has unsettled investors and rankled corporate governance experts, who say the company’s fortunes are inextricably linked to Jobs.

Investors will vote Wednesday on a resolution that would force the Apple board to disclose its succession plans. And they are waiting anxiously to see whether Jobs shows up for Apple’s annual developers conference in June to introduce the latest iPhone.

But what if Jobs does not take the stage to utter his signature “one more thing” line?

“Everyone knows that he might not return,” said one former executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preserve his relationship with Apple. “The company is prepared for all eventualities.” (continue reading… )

 

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