Sculley Resigns Leadership after 10 Years with Apple

Article excerpt

Stefan Fatsis

Associated Press

NEW YORK _ Apple Computer Inc. Chairman John Sculley, who turned the easy-to-use Macintosh from a novelty into a marketing wonder of the 1980s, resigned Friday after 10 years at the forefront of the computer revolution.

The move had been expected since Sculley was replaced as chief executive in June, and he leaves on a down note. For Apple, 1993 has brought weak profits, a major restructuring and profound questions about its future.

Sculley, 54, did not announce his plans. But he has been rumored as a candidate for top corporate jobs, and analysts said the ardent cheerleader for 21st century technologies would be a natural for one of the combinations sweeping the communications industry.

Mike Markkula, 51, a vice chairman and one of Apple's founders, was named chairman. Sculley, who joined Apple in 1983 from Pepsico Inc., was succeeded as CEO by Michael Spindler.

"I've had some wonderful years at Pepsi, an extraordinary journey at Apple and now I'm ready to head off to new challenges," Sculley said in a statement.

Sculley won a power struggle in 1985 with techie Steven Jobs _ who founded Apple in a California garage _ and led its transformation from a $600 million company with a small following into an $8 billion colossus.

Apple's colorful, point-and-click Macintosh line won over a generation of first-time computer users. More than 10 million Macintosh computers have been sold since its splashy 1984 introduction.

"He was not a pioneer in the context of a Jobs or a Hewlett-Packard, but he was clearly one of the ones who was able to take the technology and bring it into the mainstream," said Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, a Santa Clara, Calif., consulting firm.

"Being a pioneer in technology is almost less important than being able to capitalize on it," he said.

Sculley's exit was rooted in the year-old PC price wars that have slashed profit margins across the industry.

Weak demand for its pricey Macintoshes left large stockpiles. Apple's U.S. market share was 12.3 percent in the first half of 1993, down from 13.3 percent a year earlier, according to International Data Corp. in Framingham, Mass.

Sculley stepped down as CEO shortly before Apple laid off about 2,500 employees and reported its biggest quarterly loss ever _ $188 million. The company said leaving that job was his idea, but a former director, Albert Eisenstat, has claimed in a lawsuit that Sculley was forced out.

Signs that Sculley was detaching himself from Apple were plentiful. He began spending more time as a company and industry visionary, rather than running operations. …