Steve Jobs hasn’t caught some horrible, brain-eating disease or been mortally wounded by a powerful yeti in a jaunty hike across the Himalayas, but that’s not to say those things couldn’t happen at a moment’s notice. And that’s why Jess McMullin over at bplusd has issued an open letter to the board of directors at Apple, asking that, when Jobs leaves or dies or whatever force of nature drives him out of his position, that they do the right thing and give Jonathan Ive the role of CEO.
Not that he’s perfect — he’ll need coaching to round out his business fluency. He’ll need a strong team of C-level support — with more peers than minions. But I think that’s even better. Trading one iconoclast for another doesn’t help the company mature, and building a team dedicated to vision, innovation, and execution does the company more good than trying to create Steve 2.0. Putting together a team that can successfully carry the Apple banner in a post-Steve world is no trivial thing. In Apple’s case, the cultural DNA demands that this leadership team needs to be led by design more than any other strategic competency (remember Scully?). Everyone in the executive team needs to get design, and design thinking. Jonathan Ive can make this gel. Using Design leadership to distribute the Apple magic among the team is a better strategy than trying to put it all on the new CEO’s shoulders. Otherwise, the stock price should dip every time that Gulfstream leaves the runway.