Last week, Forbes published the full text of Steve Jobs’ deposition to the Securities and Exchange Commission. While a number of stories have been circulating around the internet about Jobs’ take on the stock options scandal, perhaps most interesting was Jobs’ attitude and state of mind surrounding his return to Apple and the role of Apple CEO.
Back in 1996, after Apple announced that it would purchase NeXT, Steve Jobs returned to Apple as the “interim CEO” while a replacement was sought. Most casual observers felt that Jobs would certainly remain as CEO despite the interim title. Jobs finally dropped the interim title at the 2000 Macworld Expo. TechCrunch provides a good summary of quotes from the deposition about Steve Jobs’ thought process during that time and that transitioning to Apple as full-time CEO was not as obvious a decision as one might have suspected:
Q: And did you take on the role then as CEO?
Jobs: Well, no, I did not. I was very concerned that Pixar was a newly public company with shareholders, employees, and I felt that – – to my knowledge there had never been a CEO of two public companies before. So I felt if I took the job, the Pixar shareholders and employees would think I was abandoning them.
Jobs. And I decided I just – – that I couldnt do that. So I took the title of interim CEO and agreed to come back for 90 days to help recruit a full-time CEO.
Jobs, of course, was later unable to find a suitable candidate and eventually slid into the position himself.
Jobs also explains that the reason for the stock options was that he felt unappreciated by Apple’s board despite the amount of work he put into the company during those years. Jobs, of course, was cleared of wrongdoing with respect to the stock option investigation.