WSJ: iWatch due in Fall, Tim Cook actively looking to add fresh faces to Apple’s board

Apple October 2013 event (Tim Cook, Apple logo 001)

Tim Cook’s recasting of Apple is in full bloom as the CEO pushes executives to be more collaborative while broadening the firm’s legendary laser focus, as per a new report by The Wall Street Journal. The story also mentions that Cook is very much looking to add new directors to Apple’s eight-person board.

That’s hardly a surprise given that six board members are aged 63 or older. It’s also worth mentioning that Cook has inherited the board from Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs so these people may not be necessarily 100 percent loyal to Cook in the long run.

Moreover, people familiar with the Apple’s plans told WSJ that the firm will introduce its rumored iWatch with “advanced sensors to track a user’s fitness and health” alongside new iPhones in the Fall, matching up with previous reports…

Daisuke Wakabayashi, reporting for the Wall Street Journal:

According to people familiar with the company, Mr. Cook is actively seeking new directors to add to Apple’s eight-person board, known for its loyalty to Mr. Jobs. Six of the seven outside directors are aged 63 or older.

Four of them have served for more than a decade, including two who have been on the board since the late 1990s: former Intuit Corp Chief Executive Bill Campbell and J. Crew Group Inc. Chief Executive Millard S. “Mickey” Drexler.

And this on the iWatch project:

People familiar with the company’s plans say that Apple is working on a smart watch with advanced sensors to track a user’s fitness and health. Apple is expected to introduce the new device, as well as a larger iPhone, in the fall, these people said.

Employees interviewed for the article said that Cook’s Apple is a “kinder, gentler” workplace though some have expressed concerns that the frenetic pace of the Steve Jobs regime is giving way under Cook.

“The only thing that Steve cared about was creating great products. The company, the employees were only there to facilitate that goal,” said a former employee. “Tim is much more worried about everything at the company.”

Some employees think Apple may be spreading itself too thin. “It was Steve’s job to say no,” one of these people said. “Tim is not as comfortable doing that.”

This comes to mind.

On the other hand, Apple is now a huge company and it can’t live off the iPhone and iPad forever so branching out in new directions is very much welcomed.

While Mr. Jobs pitted executives against each other, Mr. Cook is more of a consensus builder, these people said.

The approach has contributed to slower decision making at times, but it has also reduced the chaos that sometimes surrounded Mr. Jobs’ management style, they said.

Senior executives are more collegial and collaborative than under Mr. Jobs, said a person close to Apple.

News of Cook’s reported impending reshuffling of the Apple board arrives as Google’s co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin launch a public critique of Apple’s approach to product development.

Apple famously focuses on just a few projects at any given time, but Google’s Page didn’t mince words opining in a fireside chat with venture capitalist Vinod Khosla that it sounds “stupid if you have this big company and you can only do, like, five things.”

During his time as the CEO of Apple, Cook gave Disney CEO Bob Iger a seat on the board and promoted Art Levinson to non-executive Chairman of the Board.

Tim Campbell, also know as The Coach, is especially interesting. The 73-year-old was a close confidant of Jobs and according to his profile page at Intuit, still actively advises a number of Silicon Valley giants.

Elected Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Columbia in 2005, Campbell is worth an estimated $200 million.

Interestingly enough, Campbell in an April 2013 interview with Bloomberg Businessweek alluded at wearables being Apple’s next big thing, teasing customers should expect to see “a lot of things going on with the application of technology to really intimate things.”

He was also quoted in a March article by The Wall Street Journal as telling some people on the original iPhone project that the Apple smartphone would be better than the Mac.