Readers want Hancock at helm of Apple

Former Apple chief technology officer Ellen Hancock, who quit the company with CEO Gilbert Amelio last week, is the No. 1 response to our informal write-in poll asking who should next run Apple.

5 min read
Who should be the next CEO of Apple Computer (AAPL)?

NEWS.COM readers were just waiting to be asked that question.

As always, readers had lots of ideas, suggestions, and helpful hints on how to pick up the pieces of the beleaguered company, and who should be in charge.

Among the suggestions that came in response to our informal write-in poll: A monkey; the ever-handy Martha Stewart; a dude who knows how to fight--and bite--the competition, Mike Tyson; Bill Gates; and, more seriously, former Apple chief technology officer Ellen Hancock, our readers' favorite.

Hancock, who resigned along with ex-chief executive Gilbert Amelio last week, captured 22 percent of votes; readers were apparently undeterred by the fact that she has already left the company.

Respondent W.M Sims spoke for the pro-Hancock camp: "Hancock...whoa-nelly! A smart, computer-savvy, people person who knows how to talk to press and developers...and...and...she's a she!?! The most powerful female CEO ever? Stand back, because this is a woman that could give Apple (and the press) the kick in the pants they both sorely need."

Others who voted for Hancock agreed that she's got the right combination of

Readers' Choice for Apple CEO
Ellen Hancock 22%
Guy Kawasaki 14%
Steven Kahng 9%
Steve Jobs 7%
Dell Yocam 4%
Fred Anderson 4%
Me 4%
Bill Gates 4%
Other 23%
technology and marketing savvy to lead Apple into the millennium. Many also agree with Sims that it couldn't hurt Apple's tarnished image to hire a woman for the top job.

Trailing Hancock with 14 percent of the vote was Guy Kawasaki, chief evangelist and Apple fellow.

Those in the Kawasaki camp feel his marketing experience is exactly what Apple needs right now. Kawasaki is also appreciated for the qualities that he doesn't bring to the table:

"His charisma quotient is probably not as high as Steve Jobs's, but he's not nearly as abrasive, which should be a big factor for people on the fence in supporting Apple," wrote Larry Manter.

The CEO of Apple's largest Macintosh cloner, Power Computing picked up 9 percent of the vote.

Reader John Dennet argued for Kahng. "His Apple would kick ass and take names."

Apple cofounder Steve Jobs, while the subject of one reader's disdain (see below), maintains some allegiance among the Apple faithful. He earned 7 percent of the vote on last-minute responses.

Several less modest respondents considered themselves the most qualified candidate. "Me" was in a dead heat with Dell Yocam and acting CEO Fred Anderson, who earned 4 percent each, as did Apple's dreaded nemesis, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates.

Some readers hope that Apple will look outside the high-tech niche to find a qualified candidate. Receiving one vote each were Martha Stewart, Lee Iaccoca, Mike Tyson, and "Anyone But Steve Jobs."

One respondent suggests the board is considering the wrong species altogether:

"A monkey could run that company better than the last three CEOs have."

See the following page for more readers' explanations of their votes.

Guy Kawasaki
"Definitely Guy Kawasaki. He has the most enthusiasm for Apple, and is very capable of running it with the help of Fred Anderson."
--Guanyao Cheng

"I think the right person for the job, although he has no experience as a CEO anyway (and who cares), would be Guy Kawasaki. He's Apple's biggest advocate and a pretty smart guy. Another big plus, he doesn't have an MBA!"
--Roy Chartier

"In Guy, the MacOS community has an almost iconic figure who understands the needs of Apple's most important constituents, Apple users and developers. He would seem to fulfill the requirements for marketing Apple more effectively and motivating both developers and users to uphold the only platform that can mount a realistic assault on the undeserved domination of Microsoft."
--Michael Craig Amper

Ellen Hancock
"My vote: Heidi Roizen and Ellen Hancock as co-chairs. Ellen's technical expertise and ability to cut through Jobs's bullshit would be refreshing. Roizen's personality and relationship with developers could only help out. Together they could be quite dynamic."
--Name withheld

"I would like to see Ms. Ellen Hancock to be the next CEO at Apple Computers. She is a visioneer (sic.) and [has] always been committed to Apple. I hope Apple will offer her the job."
--Rotciv Biscocho

"Ellen Hancock, hands down. With Guerrino DeLuca's marketing savvy, they should be able to do it. Reports of bad blood between Ms. Hancock and the Next technical team (Avie and Jon) should not stand in the way. They do what they do, and she does what she does. Remember that she gave us OS updates on time and without major bugs."
--Name withheld

"Ellen Hancock seems competent and decisive and already knows the ropes. Besides, as the highest-ranking female silicon valley executive she would reinforce Apple's role as a force for innovation and change. She has also proven willing and able to go toe-to-toe with Steve Jobs when necessary."
--Joe Dien

"She made all the right moves at Apple and seems to have the right character. She cut through the bull, found solutions and made them happen, and put the right people in the right positions."
--Sam Kass

Steve Jobs
"In my mind, Steve Jobs seems to be the obvious choice for Apple's next CEO. We tried a straight businessman, and it didn't work. Put a visionary back in the big chair."
--Ben Wilson

Fred Anderson
"I am led to believe that Anderson would be the best choice for CEO. He obviously must have the 'right stuff' to be acting CEO. Also, coming from his current position as CFO, he should have the ability to focus Apple's need to clean up its bills."
--Gordon Worly

Steve Kahng
"Steve Kahng of Power computing. He seems to realize the importance of the graphic and multimedia markets that Apple is so strong in. Maybe he can convince to the masses how much easier and user-friendly a Mac OS is.
--Gary C.

Bill Gates
"Only one man can escape (sic.) Apple from disaster. Bill Gates! He will bring a new soul to a new Apple."
--Jerry Justianto

"Perhaps Gates should run Apple for a year on a part-time basis!"
--Yves Crevecoeur

"Of course, I would be the best person for the job, but I am too busy at the moment."
--Serge Grenier