LEADERSHIP & SUCCESSION AT APPLE INC

12 Pages   |   2,873 Words

Table of Contents

Executive Summary. 3
Introduction. 4
Leadership Challenges at Apple. 5
Leadership Succession Planning Model 6
Succession Planning at Apple. 8
Conclusion. 9
References. 10
 

ABSTRACT

Apple Inc. is a market leader in computer software, consumer electronics and personal computing industry. Steve Jobs has served as the leader of the organization. Steve Jobs was well known for product innovation and his charismatic aura which drove the company from one success to another. Steve Jobs’ resignation from the position of CEO, created a great hiatus at Apple. The role of leadership has become highly critical at Apple because of unique changes which are taking place in technology industry at this point in time. There leadership challenge at Apple is very important due to a number of reasons. Firstly, the legacy of Steve Jobs is highly strong. For majority of its history, Apple has been driven by leadership and vision of Jobs alone.
Apple has had quite remarkable successes in recent years, and it would be the responsibility of the new CEO to maintain the pace of growth. Samsung Electronics is not only giving a tough competition to Apple Inc and took away the position of being the largest supplier of smartphones in the world. The legal battle between the two companies intensified after Apple, said the suit in April in the U.S., that the device Samsung Galaxy is copied from the iPhone and IPad. iPad is facing stiff competition from tangible tablets Amazon's Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble's Nook, which are offered to consumers at a pleasant price.

Leadership Succession Planning Model is a valuable tool to grow leaders within the organization and for succession planning within firms. Analysis show that Steve Jobs had not curtailed decision making authorities with himself entirely; rather a team existed at the top hierarchical level of the organization. Geographically business of Apple was organized around five key market segments each one with their own operations head. The structure of the organization is rather flat considering the size of the organization. Under current structure, there is no single decision maker but a group of them. Management duties at Apple are separated out but they will ultimately report to the few at the top. It is concluded that it is possible to fulfill the role of CEO at Apple since the elements which support succession planning are found within the organization.

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Apple Inc. is a multinational corporation which is accepted as a market leader in computer software, consumer electronics and personal computing industry. Apple is a US origin company started by Steve Jobs as an entrepreneurial venture. During majority of Apple’s history, Steve Jobs has served as the leader of the organization. Steve Jobs was well known for product innovation and his charismatic aura which drove the company from one success to another. Apple Inc. is incorporate within US and possesses the distinction of the largest publicly traded company in the world by market capitalization (Apple Inc. Official Website, n.d.). Growth of Apple has been dramatic and the company's expansion has been remarkable taking operations to a dominant player in consumer electronics markets from its traditional segment of personal computers. The product categories in which the organization operate ranges from hardware devices like iPad to operating systems of Mac computers and even software suites like iLife. Prior to Steve Jobs demise, Apple has reached the heights of being declared as the largest technology company on the Globe in terms of both revenue and profit surpassing Microsoft. The leadership of Steve Jobs was also responsible for giving the company the status of being the most admired company in United States on the basis of product innovation, behavior towards its environment and HR practices.

Apple’s remarkable success as a technology firm is almost entirely attributed to leadership success of Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs was a rare combination of business acumen with engineering invention. This is the reason; Steve Jobs is widely recognized as the pioneer of computing industry and the leader whose vision drove excellence of more than forty six thousand workers at Apple Inc. Steve Jobs resignation from his leadership position at Apple in August 2011, created a great hiatus at Apple (Apple Inc. Official Website, n.d.). Resignation was on account of health reasons and it is presumed that Apple will not be able to maintain its growth and excellence in technology industry after Steve Jobs. It is hypnotized that no other person, within and outside Apple, will be able to fulfill the role which was being played by Steve Jobs. The paper evaluates the argument through a systematic analysis of Apple’s business and leadership succession theory. 
  Transition of power from one leader to another has a huge impact not only on the mood of people and business productivity, but also on the company's stock price. Traditionally, companies have relied on their human resources departments, which were to ensure the continued availability of talented managers, past all of the hierarchy and are ready to step up the place of elders. The role of leadership has become highly critical at Apple because of unique changes which are taking place in technology industry at this point in time. Apple has been engaged in recent product innovations which require both leadership excellence and vision to steer the company (Brashers, 2001). There leadership challenge at Apple is very important due to a number of reasons. Firstly, the legacy of Steve Jobs is highly strong. For majority of its history, Apple has been driven by leadership and vision of Jobs alone (Sander, 2011). Steve Jobs has held the permanent head of the corporation position for more than thirty five years. Also, the firm is one of the most technologically advanced companies in the field of IT requiring both technical knowledge, as well as, business acumen from its head. The job role entails progressive development of the company, business skills, the ability of the policy of open dialogue with any employee and a continuous chain of small but constant technological victories (Young and Simon, 2006 ). 

Apple has had quite remarkable successes in recent years, and it would be the responsibility of the new CEO to maintain the pace of growth.  One of most stylish and revolutionary technological innovation by Apple could certainly be called Apple iMac - the real embodiment of the fantastically bold ideas, and ideas. It is the world's first computer, which, being stationary, is corps, combined with a monitor, and completely free from wires. The huge screen at 27 inches is placed directly on the desk, connected to the mains and the user can only catch a Wi-Fi signal for the mouse and keyboard. Despite the seeming simplicity of the Apple iMac, it's a multifunctional device. It functions as a game console, home theater, a graphical editor, and media center. In May 2010, Apple has launched a model of Apple Macbook, which has become the embodiment of the inviolability of the status of the corporation in the segment of the budget laptops always the best price to performance ratio. Weight of Macbook is only 2.3 kg which contains a processor with RAM up to 4GB, the operating frequency of 2.4 GHz and the amount of shared memory to 500 GB. Another product innovation which marks competitive edge by Apple is iPod, providing a full range of capabilities in the field and at the same time as close as possible to the computer features. If you list all the features of last modification iPod touch. It would be the responsibility of the new CEO to maintain such levels of growth.
Also, important is the competition in the environment of the firm. Recently, Samsung Electronics overtook Apple, as the largest seller of smartphones in the world. Samsung Electronics is not only giving a tough competition to Apple Inc and took away the position of being the largest supplier of smartphones in the world, but also against the background of the expansion of technology, these two companies are engaged in a legal battle. Apple and Samsung have accused each other of violating patents on technology used in mobile phones and tablets, court cases still pending in Milan and Sydney. The legal battle between the two companies intensified after Apple, said the suit in April in the U.S., that the device Samsung Galaxy is copied from the iPhone and IPad (Cruikshank, 2006). Iphone is a major cash earner for Apple while the global market for smart phones has only grown by 44% compared to last year. The new leader is required to maintain pace of business growth in such environmental challenges.
In addition to the above mentioned challenges for Apple Inc., competitors are challenging the leadership position of iPad, as well. iPad is considered amongst the star in Apple’s product portfolio and future growth is anticipated from this device. iPad is facing stiff competition from tangible tablets Amazon's Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble's Nook, which are offered to consumers at a pleasant price. Experts believe that the leadership in this quarter Apple's supply of computers too early to expect, but, ultimately leadership position will be decided after launch of iPad 3 (Gillam, 2008). Rival makers of tablets are still in competition with Apple. Many of them are beginning to sell their devices at a lower price than iPad. The debuts of the operating system Android 4.0 will finally device manufacturers and developers to adapt their applications to smartphones Tablet devices.  Leadership Succession Planning Model is a valuable tool to grow leaders within the organization and for succession planning within firms. Success by succession planning is an investment that business leaders are recognizing as an important strategy in achieving the long-term vision of their organization. Leadership Succession Planning model is also important because it prepares the organization against an unplanned loss of leadership of the organization. Studies show that despite the growing awareness that succession planning is an essential process with numerous benefits, only one per cent of surveyed organizations rated their succession-management plans as "excellent" and as much as two-thirds described them as "fair or worse." The model states that succession planning does not only require training, rather it needs a strong alliance with planning and development (Friedman, 2011). Succession planning is defined by theorists as the identification and development of employees with high potential, so that later they can work on leadership positions. Also, succession planning needs to pay attention to results rather than on the process. Succession planning is even more important for multinational companies because their environment is highly dynamic and they need capable, trained leaders. In the absence of such leaders, long-term success and implementation of business mission becomes impossible. 
Succession planning is a necessary condition for the implementation of organizational strategy and starts from bottom levels of the organization. If measures are taken to ensure that all key positions filled by qualified staff, properly trained and prepared to meet the relevant obligations, it is a solid foundation for productivity throughout the organization. In addition, successful succession planning is the ability of a stable government (Lussier and Achua, 2010). A robust and reliable structure and other key leadership positions, in turn, allow the organization to make better use of financial and human resources (Maxwell, 2006). Implementation of succession planning concepts is beneficial to the stability of the involvement of employees and retention and recruitment, as well as for many other functions. 
Process of Succession Planning as recommended by theorists contains several steps and elements. The first step is the one in which best employees are identified, and are encouraged to stretching. The responsibility for succession planning lies with the senior management team of the company, and many business leaders believe that this is an excellent practice. The objectives related to succession planning are among the objectives of the annual performance of managers and leaders (Russel, 2001).  After the selection of candidates for the succession planning program has been made, to the success of a major role takes on training. Knowledge of specialists training is ideal to structure the process of succession planning properly, they have the same and necessary for the promotion of the candidate instruments.   This section applies the above mentioned concepts of Leadership Succession Planning Model to the current situation and organizational culture of Apple. Review of management functioning at Apple reveals that Steve Jobs had not curtailed decision making authorities with himself entirely; rather a team existed at the top hierarchical level of the organization. This is a positive factor towards leadership succession at Apple. The diagram on the right exhibits leadership make up at Apple.
Steve Jobs did not function as the sole decision maker, rather ten Senior Vice Presidents: CFO, COO, Operations, Hardware Engineering, Software Engineering, iOS software, Worldwide Product Marketing, Industrial Design, Retail and General Counsel used to look after their designated operations in a rather independent manner.
 
Figure  SEQ Figure * ARABIC 1 - Leadership at Apple (source: HBR.com)
Also, geographically business of Apple was organized around five key market segments each one with their own operations head. This geographical segmentation was based on America, EMEAI, Japan, and Retail and others. Another one of the features highlighted by Apple is that it functions as a highly collaborative company. The structure of the organization is rather flat considering the size of the organization (Imbibo, 2009). The process of task execution at Apple is work as cross functional teams and to divide things up into teams (Gallo, 2010). As the head of the business, Steve Jobs’ main task was to meet with teams of people within the organization. Interestingly, HR does not report directly to the head of the organization, rather to heads within each division within the company (Alan, 2001 ). Therefore, it can be derived that the functions carried by the previous CEO can be carried out by a new CEO with quite felicity. Even though the chief executive will be looking over 35,000 employees, duties are adequately divided within the organization to enable a person to carry out these tasks. Under current structure, there is no single decision maker but a group of them. Management duties at Apple are separated out but they will ultimately report to the few at the top. Succession of CEO role at Apple Inc. should be carried out in a step-by-step approach. Effective succession planning should be carried out by:
1. Identification of future leaders, first within top management of Apple or by considering outside candidates
2. Assessment of their merits in the context of current and future needs of Apple. Unique leadership challenges faced by Apple have been discussed above
3. Formation and development of candidates (job training, rotations, mentoring) since the challenges of CEO position at Apple are very tough
4. Observation of the development of candidates during the initial few weeks as CEO of Apple
In the light of the above mentioned discussion, it is believed that several talented people can be found at the top hierarchical levels within Apple Inc. to drive future performance of the corporation and to let the organization thrive among various challenges faced by it. Analysis of challenges faced by Apple and evaluation of the role of CEO shows that the leadership gap at Apple Inc. can be fulfilled quite adequately. The reason for such conclusion is that the hierarchical structure at Apple is quite flat and decision making is distributed within different business segments. Leadership Succession Planning theory also supports elements at Apple which are feasible for succession at Apple. Therefore, Steve Jobs role can be fulfilled by a person from within the top management of the organization which possess both business acumen and technological knowledge to drive the organization. Alan, D. (2001 ) The Second Coming of Steve Jobs, Ohio: Broadway Books.
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