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Apple's new CEO is anyone's guess

Who will be the next head of Apple is anyone guess. CNET's NEWS.COM polled industry figures and head-hunters for their opinion.

Who will be the next head of Apple is anyone's guess. CNET's NEWS.COM polled industry figures and headhunters for their opinion.

John Sculley's choice: Delbert Yocam
"They have to hire someone who is familiar with Apple (AAPL). They don't have the luxury of three months to find a CEO," said Sculley, the former Apple CEO who left amidst controversy in 1993. "Del Yocam was COO and ran Apple Pacific, has a lot of experience and could pull morale back up quickly. I intentionally didn't ask him [if he was interested]; my guess is, if is, he is still the best person they could hire."

Yocam, CEO at Borland (BORL), doesn't seem too interested, however.

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Although he didn't rule out taking the job, Yocam said last week in a prepared statement that he has not been approached by Apple's board. Furthermore, he said, he was dedicated to Borland's future.

"Can the company be saved? My opinion is: It's not too late," Sculley added." They have to act very very quickly--I'm not talking about two months down the line--they have to act very quickly."

Other opinions
• Various shareholders: Greg Galanos, CTO at MetroWorks, Kodak CEO George Fisher, and Dick Watts, the British executive in charge of PCs at Hewlett-Packard.

• An ex-Apple executive's nominee: Steve Kahng, chairman of clone maker Power Computing.

• Roger Kay, analyst at International Data Corporation: Dick Snyder, the Compaq senior vice president of worldwide sales who resigned last week "He was quite sharp in sales. It's the type of qualification they need," said Kay. Although Apple is down, the lure of the top spot, along with a high salary, should be enough of a lure to a second-level executive. The job means "getting on the CEO circuit."

• Two Apple investors wrote in to CNET's NEWS.COM with their candidate. Their choice: Ellen Hancock, the Apple CTO who resigned along with Amelio.

• The president of a large, California high-technology firm with strong ties to Apple: Michael Dell. "Whoever takes it over will have to wear a big idiot sign," said the executive, who wished to remain anonymous. "I don't know anyone who would seriously consider the job. It's a daunting challenge and there are way too many opportunities out there."

The list also includes current and former Apple executives like Yocam and Apple CFO Fred Anderson, currently the acting CEO. Anderson generally gets higher marks from Wall Street analysts than anyone else on the board. Steve Jobs was asked to take the job by board member Edgar Woolard, but it does not appear that he will do so. Jurgen Hintz, a former CEO with strong ties to Apple, was floated as a candidate last time; unfortunately, he left the Apple board earlier this year.

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