Where's Apple's 'Deep Bench' of Talent?

Reported by Melissa Lee, written by Michelle Lodge
Tuesday, 11 May 2010 | 5:25 PM ET
Apple CEO, Steve Jobs
Apple CEO, Steve Jobs

Apple-watchers, especially analysts and investors, are keen to see the innovative tech titan’s deep bench of talented executives come to the fore, even while they support its legendary founder, Steve Jobs.

“Phil Schiller is their head of marketing,” Leander Kahney, author of Inside Steve’s Brain and editor and publisher of cultofmac.com, told CNBC Tuesday.

“Tim Cook [the COO] is the heir-apparent. It’s about time people begin to know Tim as an executive.”

American Titans - See Complete Coverage
American Titans - See Complete Coverage

Those leaders and others inside Apple helped accelerate the company’s growth at a time when Jobs was out sick, due to an illness that required a liver transplant last year.

When the company treated Jobs’s health condition with the same secrecy as details of a soon-to-be-released product, it drove the stock price down. Jobs had became the tech giant’s biggest liability.

Jobs: Apple Asset or Risk?
Discussing whether Steve Jobs is liability for Apple, with CNBC's Melissa Lee; Leander Kahney, "Inside Steve's Brain" author; and CNBC's Jim Goldman.

Some Apple trackers believe, nonetheless, that Jobs is irreplaceable and that his fortunes and his health are integral to the company’s long-term success.

Now that Jobs is back at work, he makes his presence known. For example, his quotes are embedded in even the most mundane press releases.

He also attends events, makes presentations and he even answers some customers’ emails.

“There’s no indication that Steve Jobs is ready to step down,” added Kahney. “It’s been a year since he had his liver transplant. And even though he is pretty thin, he’s vibrant. He’s back in the game. It could be premature to say that we’re looking for replacements for him.”

Perhaps, what Steve Jobs will do next is best said by the man himself, from 2007 video clip: “One of the biggest motivations to working so hard for a couple of years to make a great product is that you want one yourself.”

  Price   Change %Change