Jobs' Medical Leave Puts Succession Planning in Spotlight Again

Susan Hall

News that Apple CEO Steve Jobs again is taking medical leave has again focused attention on the company's succession plans. Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook, who ably took the helm of the company in 2009 while Jobs underwent a liver transplant, again will handle the day-to-day operations of the company, The Guardian reports.


The New York Times quotes David B. Yoffie, a professor at Harvard Business School, saying:

The company could not thrive if Steve didn't have an extremely talented team around him, but you can't replace Steve on some levels.

And Michael Useem, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the director of its Center for Leadership and Change Management, saying:

The person who can keep the trains running on time is a scarce commodity, but not as rare as someone who can do breakthrough innovation.

The Wall Street Journal noted that Jobs' e-mail, sent out Monday while the stock market was closed, provided no expected return date.


To some degree, this seems like dej vu all over again. Our Ann All delved deeply into the succession issue for companies after Jobs previously took medical leave. In her research, she also found that Intel appears to be a company that gets succession planning right. This piece also suggests 10 questions to ask about your company, if you need to get started.

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