Golden parachutes are wonderful things. Particularly if you are promised $9 million plus as you dive into a company in crisis, convinced that you can turn it round and end up bathing in the glory of shareholder adulation.
And, of course, if it doesn?t work out, you have already planned the additional holiday home and the swimming pool extension to while away the hours before the next big job offer comes in. But there are problems on the ground that seem like mere chimeras as you business process re-engineer while floating to Earth.
So Gil Amelio is not as unhappy as some may think after his ?shock? sacking from Apple last week ? even if it may take him longer than expected to find another job. And his pronouncement on arriving at Apple ? that his customers? grandchildren will still be buying Apple goodies in the future ? is probably still true. Apple will survive.
It has been, paradoxically, a very lucky company. Founded on the firm rock of good reliable hardware and brilliant marketing campaigns, it has built niche markets most companies would die for. And if it works on developing new software it can not only survive but get healthy again.
Yes, Apple?s third quarter results will be disastrous and some will say that forcing out Ellen Hancock as well is a big mistake that Apple will come to regret. When Steve Jobs re-entered the Apple fold the markets looked on with a mixture of hope and bemusement. Having failed once before, how could he do it again? Either he has made no difference in helping Amelio drag the company out of its financial mess or he is playing to the old Steve Jobs tune ? he is, after all, bigger than the company he helped found.
Is it not a little bit disturbing that Jobs is heading the committee trusted with the job of finding a new Messiah? Wasn?t Jobs the man who hauled John Sculley on board only to find his own head presented to the board on a platter? What thoughts are going through Jobs? mind as he leads the search for a stable succession? He has always wanted the top job and it is inconceivable that he has lost that ambition.
He may get it by default. Yes, there may be a corporate masochist out there in the wastelands of corporate America who is looking for the ultimate challenge. But this time even the biggest golden parachute may not be enough.
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