Conventional wisdom suggested it would take more than one person to fill the shoes of the late Apple chairman and CEO Steve Jobs. Last week, the technology giant confirmed that view, naming former Genentech CEO Arthur Levinson *77 as its non-executive chairman. Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, will continue the role he took over in August, less than two months before Jobs’ death.
Levinson, who stepped down as the Genentech CEO in 2009, has been an Apple board member since 2000 and previously served as co-lead director with another Princetonian, Avon CEO Andrea Jung ’79. Reuters columnist Robert Cyran said that Levinson was a “solid choice” to lead the Apple board because he “developed a good reputation for dealing with headstrong researchers” in his previous job.
After earning a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Princeton in 1977, Levinson joined Genentech as a research scientist in 1980. He became the CEO in 1995, and in his 14 years at the helm, he led the biotech company through a remarkable period of growth, eventually overseeing its merger with pharmaceutical giant Roche in 2008-09. The website Glassdoor.com once named him the country’s “nicest” CEO (based on ratings by employees), and Genentech has consistently ranked at or near the top of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For.” In 2006, Levinson received the James Madison Medal, Princeton’s top honor for graduate alumni.
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