Apple adds Disney’s Iger to board; Levinson becomes non-exec chairman

Arthur Levinson

Apple is beginning the process of re-arranging its corporate governance in the wake of Steve Jobs’ death in October. The company has named Arthur Levinson as the company’s new non-executive Chairman of the Board, nominally filling the last seat occupied by Steve Jobs before his death. Apple has also named Walt Disney Company CEO Robert Iger as a new member of Apple’s board of directors.

“[Levinson] has been our longest serving co-lead director, and his insight and leadership are incredibly valuable to Apple, our employees and our shareholders,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook in a statement. “Bob [Iger] and I have gotten to know one another very well over the past few years and on behalf of the entire board, we think he is going to make an extraordinary addition to our already very strong board.”

Arthur Levinson has been a member of Apple’s board since 2000, and has served as a co-lead director since 2005, formally serving on the audit, corporate governance, and compensation committees. As non-executive chairman, he will continue to serve on the audit committee. By stepping into the chairman role, Levinson is filling the last seat at Apple occupied by co-founder Steve Jobs, who stepped down as CEO in August to serve as chairman until his death. However, Jobs was technically an executive chairman—very much capable of taking an active leadership role in the company. Levinson’s position will not come with any executive powers.

Levinson is also chairman of Genentech, and served as Genentech’s CEO from 1995 through 2009. He also serves as a director of Amyris, NGM Biopharmaceuticals, and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Although not mentioned in Apple’s announcement, Levinson also used to hold a seat on Google’s board of directors: he resigned in 2009 two months after former Google CEO Eric Schmidt left his position on Apple’s board. The splits marked one of the first public signs of animosity between Apple and Google over things like Android and Google’s Chrome operating system.

Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger

Robert Iger is currently CEO of the Walt Disney Company; there’s another Jobs connection there since, after Disney’s acquisition of Pixar in 2006, Steve Jobs became Disney’s largest single shareholder, and served as a director on Disney’s board of directors. Iger will also serve on the Apple board’s audit committee.

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