Jobs Transplant Raises Questions

Shareholders are wondering out loud if Jobs should step down as CEO of the company he helped found

After months of speculation, the Wall Street Journal has outed Steve Jobs as recently having had a liver transplant in Tennessee two months ago, which explains one of the reasons the public hasn’t heard much from him.

This news has led to some shareholders questioning his viability as the CEO of the company he co-founded, then left, only to return as the saviour when it was struggling in its niche market. A problem that has been mooted ever since Jobs had treatment for pancreatic cancer in 2004, is the line of succession if anything should happen to him.

Most shareholders have basked in the deliberate mystique that Jobs has created around Apple, and the profits this has generated. However, even they realise that leaving Apple in the hands of one person could, in the end, be fatal for the company’s future. You only have to look at the ebb and flow of its share price when Jobs’s state of health is mentioned.

Is Jobs bigger than Apple? At the moment yes, which is why some of the shareholders are getting itchy feet. Jobs is an ideas man, but there are plenty of his employees that have come up with some of the great devices it offers. Yet, you wouldn’t know this due to Apple’s cult of personality with its CEO, and if Jobs’s contribution can somehow be demystified, and the kudos spread around, then the perception of Jobs’ – and vicariously Apple – being a one-man band, can be diluted.

And that is going to be the hardest sell of all not only to the public – who perceive rightly or wrongly the company’s fortunes hang in the balance of a single individual – but to the man himself, whose ego could hardly be described as modest.