* Iger brings media expertise, contacts
* Genentech chairman becomes Apple chairman
* Post-Jobs appointments come amid rising media ambitions
By Poornima Gupta and Edwin Chan
Nov 15 Apple Inc moved to shore up its
board after the death of Silicon Valley legend Steve Jobs,
appointing Walt Disney Co Chief Executive Bob Iger to
its board to propel its media ambitions.
Iger brings sector expertise and Disney's clout as the
world's largest media and entertainment conglomerate to bear,
as Apple prepares to step up a fight with the likes of
Amazon.com Inc and Google Inc over content
and its distribution.
Many on Wall Street also expect an attempt soon to shake up
the fragmented television market, much as Apple did with iTunes
"Apple is going to get more into content distribution over
time on the video side. That's where it makes sense for someone
like Bob Iger from Disney to have that relationship with
Apple," Morningstar analyst Michael Corty said.
Apple is taking the fight to Internet distribution and the
so-called "cloud." It recently launched "iTunes Match," a
service that for a fee of $24.99 scans the content of your
music library and matches it with music available on its iTunes
Google is expected to announce this week an online music
service similar to iTunes.
In coming years, investors are betting that Apple will
launch a full-fledged assault on TV, though skeptics say it
will prove difficult to arrange distribution agreements with
cable and content companies.
Jobs was himself a director at Disney, whose corporate
empire encompasses TV network ABC, sports cable channel ESPN,
movie studios and theme parks and resorts.
He and Iger forged a strong relationship after Disney
bought Pixar for about $7.4 billion in 2006. Jobs had purchased
Pixar in 1986.
WHO WATCHES THE WATCHMEN?
Genentech Inc Chairman Arthur Levinson will become
chairman, replacing Jobs, who died in October after a
years-long struggle with cancer. Levinson had been a co-lead
Apple director since 2005, alongside Avon Products Inc's Andrea Jung.
Apple had lacked a chairman until Jobs in August took the
role, relinquishing his CEO duties at the same time because he
could no longer fulfill them due to his worsening health. The
company argued that co-lead arrangement enhanced its
But analysts have said Jobs' exercised enormous influence
over the board. They said his absence would trigger major
changes for the board, elevating them beyond being merely
advisers to a visionary leader.
The board may have to take more control, be less
deferential to new CEO Tim Cook than it was to Jobs and meet
more often, they said.
The naming of an independent chairman was welcomed by
corporate governance experts.
"The board knows it's going to be under the microscope and
Tim Cook knows that as well," said Jim Post, a professor of
corporate governance at Boston University School of Management,
who called for an independent chairman. "The board has to move
out of Steve Jobs' shadow, and they have to act to like an
"The steps they have taken today move them in a better
direction," he added.
Previously, some experts have raised concerns about how
Jobs managed to keep his board in the dark about his health,
which was a topic of constant speculation in the years before
In Walter Isaacson's best-selling biography of the Silicon
Valley icon, it was revealed the charismatic Jobs had sometimes
lied about his condition.
Questions about the board's oversight had also arisen since
Apple became one of many Silicon Valley corporations embroiled
in the options-backdating scandals in the middle of the last
In a fierce battle to attract and retain talent, Apple and
others had resorted to backdating options, or attaching a
retroactive validity date, to make them more valuable. Apple
and Jobs were eventually cleared of wrongdoing.
Apple shares were broadly unchanged at $389.12 in after
hours trading. They have slid around 4 percent since the start
of the month.