Bill Campbell leaves Apple’s board after 17 years

Bill Campbell, Apple’s longest serving board member, is retiring, the company announced Thursday. Sue Wagner, co-founder of BlackRock, an investment firm, will join the board.

Campbell’s roots in Silicon Valley run deep. He was a marketing executive at Apple under John Sculley and later became the chief executive of Intuit. He was the CEO of GO Corp., which made a handheld computer device.

Photo: Right to left: Bill Campbell, former Intuit CEO Steve Bennett, and Intuit founder Scott Cook. Campbell is retiring from Apple’s board, which he joined in 1997. (Business Wire)

But his key role has been as an advisor to chief executives and tech company founders for years, including the Google co-founders, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Evan Williams of Twitter, as Adam Lashinsky in Fortune reports. One of his key relationships, however, was with Steve Jobs.

Campbell’s sought-after guidance occasionally put him in a position of facing potential conflicts of interest.

He was on Apple’s board but also advising Eric Schmidt, when he was the chief executive of Google, which made Jobs wary, Lashinsky reports.

In the employee anti-poaching suit, for example, documents show that Google executives pleaded with Campbell, who had regular Sunday walks with Jobs, to seek the Apple CEO’s permission to allow Google to hire a former Apple employee, as Pando Daily reported.

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, praised Campbell’s contribution to the iPhone maker:

When Bill joined Apple’s board, the company was on the brink of collapse. He not only helped Apple survive, but he’s led us to a level of success that was simply unimaginable back in 1997.

Apple in a statement Campbell had praise for Tim Cook, Apple’s current CEO:

Tim is a calm, thoughtful guy. He studies things and thinks about them, makes a decision, and moves on.


Photo at top from Reuters archives


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  • WAM

    Retiring as a Board member is like yawning on the golf course