Will Art Levinson change the power balance at Apple? A closer look at the new chairman
One of the first things Steve Jobs did when he returned Apple (AAPL) in 1997 was dismiss the company's board and appoint directors more to his liking, including Genentech CEO Arthur D. Levinson.
"Jobs did not cede any real power to his board," according to Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs. "But he did use its meetings to kick around ideas and think through strategies in confidence."
With Jobs gone and Tim Cook as CEO, Levinson has been elevated to chairman of the board -- the last position Jobs held before he died. Is Levinson the kind of chairman who will insist on powers that the board never had under the company's co-founder?
Apple's press release Tuesday offers a bare-bones summary of his background:
B.S. University of Washington, Ph.D. Princeton. Joined Genentech as a research scientist in 1980, served as CEO 1995-2009, chairman of the board from 2010 on. Author or co-author of 80 scientific papers, named as inventor on 11 U.S. patents. Serves on numerous boards and advisory committees, from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
His Wikipedia entry offers some personal detail and color.
He's 61 years old, the father of two, married to the same woman for 33 years. Named one of the best managers of the year in 2004 and 2005 by BusinessWeek. Named "America's Best CEO" in biotech for four years in a row by Institutional Investor. Rated the "nicest" CEO of 2008 with a 93% approval rating by Glassdoor.com.
But we get the closest look at the role he played at Apple -- and his relationship with its powerful CEO -- through Isaacson's biography.
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