Apple Inc. said Bill Campbell, a longtime confidant of Steve Jobs and the company’s longest-serving director, will retire from its board and be replaced by former BlackRock Inc. Vice Chairman Sue Wagner.
Wagner, who co-founded the world’s biggest money manager in 1988, brings key experience in mergers and acquisitions, Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said yesterday in a statement. Before retiring in 2012, she helped orchestrate BlackRock’s deals for units of Merrill Lynch & Co. and Barclays Plc.
Adding Wagner may signal more deal-making under Cook, who has stepped up the pace of acquisitions since becoming CEO, culminating in a $3 billion deal in May to buy headphone maker and music-subscription service Beats Electronics LLC. In April, Cook said the company had purchased 24 companies in the prior 18 months, compared with two known acquisitions in all of 2009.
The moves, which the iPhone maker’s board approved earlier this week, represent the first change to Apple’s panel since 2011, when Cook and Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger joined. Apple has said it was looking to expand the board to include more women and minorities after facing criticism from some shareholders about a lack of diversity. With Wagner’s addition, Apple now has two female directors. Former Avon Products Inc. CEO Andrea Jung joined the board in 2008.
Apple has made a series of changes to its leadership team in recent months, including the hiring of former Burberry Group Plc CEO Angela Ahrendts to run Apple’s retail stores, the appointment of onetime Xerox Corp. executive Luca Maestri as chief financial officer, and the planned purchase of Beats to bring in longtime music-industry executive Jimmy Iovine.
“We conducted an exhaustive search for someone who would further strengthen our board’s breadth of talent and background,” Art Levinson, Apple’s chairman, said in the statement. “I’m confident that Sue is going to make an important and positive impact on our company.”
Campbell, 73, is a veteran behind-the-scenes operative in the technology industry, advising leaders at Apple, Google Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and others during his career. Known as “coach,” a reference to his time as a college football coach, he’s been on Apple’s board for 17 years. Campbell first worked at Apple in 1983 as a marketing executive, and later went on to become CEO and chairman of software maker Intuit Inc.
He steps down as an Apple director after a tenure that included the company’s ascent from near-bankruptcy to one of the world’s most profitable businesses. His stint also included several controversies for Apple’s board, including the backdating of stock options, and lack of disclosure about Jobs’s health as he battled a rare form of cancer.
“Over the past 17 years, it’s been exciting to watch history unfold as Apple emerged as the premier technology company in the world,” Campbell said in the statement. “The company today is in the best shape that I have seen it.”
In joining Apple’s board, Wagner will receive a $50,000 annual stipend, the Cupertino, California-based company said in a regulatory filing. She also received an initial grant of 1,646 restricted stock units, worth about $153,000 based on yesterday’s stock price.
Steve Dowling, a spokesman for Apple, declined to comment beyond the company’s statement.