Apple after Jobs

October 6th, 2011

School of Management professor James Post, an authority on corporate governance and business ethics, is the author of Business and Society: Corporate Strategy, Public Policy, and Ethics. He offers the following comment on the death of Steve Jobs and the future of Apple:

“There are many lessons to be drawn from the life of Steve Jobs. His brilliance as a designer, innovator, and technology guru is being remembered with admiration around the world. But Apple’s future now turns to something he detested: good corporate governance.

“Throughout his long battle with pancreatic cancer, Jobs steadfastly refused to share news of his health with shareholders and the investment community. Repeatedly, he claimed that such matters were ‘personal’ and off-limits to the media and investors. And Apple’s board, which he controlled with an iron will, endorsed his position.

“In the weeks and months to follow, Apple’s future should focus on three things: (1) effective leadership by CEO Tim Cook and others; (2) sound product development, marketing, and communication systems — all areas in which Jobs excelled; and (3) investor confidence in the overall direction of the company. All of these areas will rise or fall depending on Apple’s board of directors.

“Apple’s board was never very independent while Jobs was in charge. Now they must be. And the world is watching.

“The values that Steve Jobs embodied, and that millions of customers around the world appreciated through countless i-products, rest on the board’s ability to step out from the shadow of a business genius — who bristled at the demands of modern corporate governance.”

Contact Post at 617-353-4162; jepost@bu.edu


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