The real question in the wake of Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s recent departure from Apple’s board of directors is yet to be answered. And that’s who will take his position as shortstop at the annual board of directors vs. Apple executive team softball game. Word is Apple’s board is eyeing several prospective candidates to fill the coveted roster slot.
According to The Wall Street Journal , Apple’s board is set to meet next Tuesday to discuss Schmidt’s seat. The Journal declines to speculate on which free agents might be under considersation, other than Apple chief operating officer and man-about-town Tim Cook. Cook has been instrumental to Apple’s business affairs, filling in for CEO Steve Jobs during his 2004 recuperation from cancer surgery as well as for his medical leave of absence this year, a spot that requires him to hit for both power and average.
But Cook's status as an Apple executive may work against him, as companies tend not to stack their boards of directors with too many insiders. The last Apple executive besides Jobs to sit on the company's board was former chief financial officer Fred Anderson, who later stepped down after an SEC investigation into the backdating of stock options. The rest of Apple's board, including Schmidt, have been outsiders, not all of them even from the technology field. And Apple's board has been criticized in the past for its lack of diversity as it has just one woman, Avon CEO Andrea Jung, suggesting another direction the company might want to go in.
Mac blog 9 to 5 Mac posits several other suggestions in a Web poll, including longshots like Oracle CEO and former Apple board member Larry Ellison, Steve Spielberg, and, naturally, Steve Wozniak. While Wozniak’s been known to swing a mean Segway polo mallet, his lifetime slugging percentage is paltry at best; Ellison, on the other hand, has already had his shot at the Apple board, and may be wary of returning for a followup act.
Of course, should Cook take the vacant Apple board spot, the question then becomes: who’ll take the coveted third spot in the executive board’s line-up, batting above cleanup hitter Big Bob Mansfield?