Who can replace Steve Jobs?

Apple is often seen synonymous with its CEO Steve Jobs. The company’s charismatic CEO is regarded as Apple’s face and soul by many. In fact, till a few months back it was tough to imagine Apple without its CEO Steve Jobs. Little doubt then that the news about Steve Jobs taking a medical leave sent the company’s stocks plummeting.

The investors as well as the analysts linked the company’s fortune with Jobs’ health. Most couldn’t comprehend an Apple without Steve Jobs. However, Jobs’ five-month long medical leave seems to have changed the perception somewhat. Analysts believe that investors have gotten comfortable with Apple’s management team as well as their ability to run the company without Jobs’ oversight.

But the big question still remains: in case the CEO Jobs retires due to health or other reasons who will replace him? Who can sustain Apple’s glory? So far Apple has been silent on any succession plan.

Fortune magazine listed the men who can fit into CEO Jobs’ shoes. Here’s over to Apple’s potential CEOs.

Timothy D Cook (Chief operating officer)

The top contender for the post of Apple’s next CEO is Timothy D Cook, Apple’s Chief operating officer.

Responsible for the company’s worldwide sales and operations, he was the man in-charge for running Apple when Steve Jobs went on medical leave this year in January. In 2004 too when Jobs underwent surgery for a rare form of pancreatic cancer, Cook rightly filled his place.

An IBM & Compaq veteran, Cook was brought on in 1998 to overhaul Apple’s inefficient manufacturing and logistics. At the time, the company’s Macintosh customers were switching to cheaper machines from Dell Inc and Hewlett-Packard Co.

Born in Mobile, Alabama, Cook earned an engineering degree from Auburn University and went on to do Master’s of Business Administration from Duke University in North Carolina.

He sits on the board at Nike Inc, the world’s largest maker of sneakers, and is an avid biker. Cook also has a passion for cycling.

Ron Johnson (Senior vice president, retail)

Another potential successor to Steve Jobs is Ron Johnson, Apple’s senior vice president, retail.

Johnson, who joined in January 2000, reports directly to CEO Steve Jobs. Johnson leads Apple’s retail strategy and is responsible for its overall execution and performance.

Having spent more than 20 years of experience in retail and merchandising, Johnson is credited for opening over 200 Apple stores. Before joining Apple, Johnson held various management positions at the Target Corporation, most recently as Vice President of Merchandising for Target Stores.

Johnson did MBA from Harvard and his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Stanford University.

Philip W Schiller (Senior vice president, worldwide product marketing)

Another contender for the Apple’s top job is Philip W Schiller, credited for delivering Apple’s most popular products, including iPhone, iPod, Safari and Macbook.

Schiller is Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide product marketing and reports directly to Steve Jobs. A member of Apple’s executive team, he is responsible for the company’s product marketing, developer relations, and business marketing programs.

Prior to Apple, Schiller served as Vice President of Product Marketing at Macromedia, Inc of San Francisco, as Director of Product Marketing at FirePower Systems, Inc of Menlo Park, as an Information Technology Manager at Nolan, Norton & Company of Lexington, and as a Programmer and Systems Analyst at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Having over twenty four years of marketing and management experience, Schiller graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Boston College in 1982.

Scott Forstall (Senior vice president, iPhone software)

Having joined Apple in the year 1997, alongwith Steve Jobs, Scott Forstall, Senior vice president, iPhone software, is another key contender for Apple’s CEO post.

Forstall leads the team responsible for delivering software of Apple iPhone including the user interface, applications, frameworks and operating system.

Forstall is credited for the original architects of Mac OS X and its Aqua user interface. He was responsible for several releases of the operating system, most importantly Mac OS X Leopard. Before Apple, he worked at NeXT developing core technologies.

Forstall received both a Bachelor of Science in Symbolic Systems and a Master of Science in Computer Science from Stanford University.

Jonathan Ive (Senior vice president, industrial design)

The man credited for designing key Apple products, Jonathan Ive, senior vice president, industrial design, too figures in the potential CEO’s list.

Joining Apple in 1996, London born designer Jonathan Ive has been responsible for leading Apple’s design team.

Ive holds a Bachelor of Arts and an honorary doctorate from Newcastle Polytechnic. In 2003 he was named Designer of the Year by the Design Museum London and awarded the title Royal Designer for Industry by The Royal Society of Arts.

Peter Oppenheimer (Chief financial officer)

Another prime contender for the job of Apple CEO is chief financial officer, Peter Oppenheimer. Joining Apple in July 1996, Oppenheimer has been CFO of the company since June 2004. Oppenheimer has also served Apple as vice president and corporate controller and as senior director of finance for Americas.

In his capacity as CFO, Oppenheimer oversees the controller, treasury, investor relations, tax, information systems, internal audit and facilities functions. He reports to the CEO and serves on the company’s executive committee.

Prior to joining Apple, Oppenheimer was CFO of one of the four business units for Automatic Data Processing, Inc (ADP). Before that, Oppenheimer spent six years in the Information Technology Consulting Practice with Coopers and Lybrand.

Oppenheimer received a bachelors degree from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo and an MBA from the University of Santa Clara, both with honors.

Bertrand Serlet (Senior vice president, software engineering)

Another front runner for the Apple CEO’s post is the company’s senior vice president of software engineering, Bertrand Serlet.

Credited for the release of Mac OS X Tiger and Leopard, Serlet is responsible for leading Apple’s Software Engineering group. He reports directly to Steve Jobs.

Having joined Apple in 1997, Serlet has played a key role in the definition, development and creation of Mac OS X. As vice president of Platform Technology, Serlet managed the largest part of the Mac OS software engineering group. Prior to joining Apple, Serlet spent 4 years at Xerox PARC and then joined NeXT in 1989.

Serlet holds a doctorate in Computer Science from the University of Orsay, France.

Sina Tamaddon (Senior vice president, applications)

Another NeXT veteran who is said to possess the capability to fit into Steve Jobs’ shoes is Sina Tamaddon, senior vice president, applications.

Tamaddon joined Apple in 1997, the same year when Steve Jobs came back to Apple. He has also been the company’s senior vice president, worldwide service and support, and vice president and general manager, Newton Group.

Before joining Apple, Tamaddon was NeXT’s vice president, Europe from September 1996 through March 1997. From August 1994 to August 1996, Tamaddon was vice president, professional services with NeXT.

Daniel Cooperman (Senior vice president, general counsel and secretary)

Apple’s chief legal officer, Daniel Cooperman, too is said to be in the race for Apple’s CEO job.

Responsible for Apple’s legal department, Cooperman looks into worldwide legal policies, corporate governance, securities compliance, commercial licensing, intellectual property, employment law, litigation, patent law, mergers and acquisitions and legal support for Apple’s various business units. Cooperman also manages Apple’s Government Affairs and Global Security groups.

Cooperman came to Apple from Oracle in November 2007, where he was General Counsel. He was with Oracle for 11 years. Cooperman currently serves on the Board of Directors of Business Software Alliance, a trade association in the software industry. He is president of the Association of General Counsel and is on the Advisory Council for the Law, Science and Technology Program at Stanford Law School.

Before Oracle, he was a partner with the San Francisco-based law firm of McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen (now known as Bingham McCutchen), and served as chair of the firm’s 65-lawyer Business & Transactions Group and managing partner of the San Jose office.

Bob Mansfield (Senior vice president, Mac hardware engineering)

The man credited for delivering Mac products, Bob Mansfield, senior vice president of Macintosh Hardware Engineering, too figures in the list of potential Apple CEOs.

Reporting to Tim Cook, Apple’s chief operating officer, Bob oversees the team that has delivered products including MacBook Air and the all-in-one iMac line.

Prior to joining Apple in 1999, Bob was vice president of Engineering at Raycer Graphics, which Apple acquired. Previously, Mansfield was a senior director at SGI, responsible for the development of various microprocessor designs.

Mansfield earned a BSEE degree from The University of Texas at Austin in 1982.

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