Should Apple consider adding new board members?

Considering how successful Apple has been it's not unreasonable to wonder … does it make sense for Cook to add new members to the board of directors? That's what the Wall Street Journal reported earlier today. The crux was that the current board is from the Steve Jobs era, with most of the directors over 63 years of age, half of them having been on the board for more than a decade, if not longer. So, given all that, I think it does.

Tim Cook has shaken up Apple management, he's hired high-ranking executives from the fashion industry, he brought back charitable matching, he initiated a massive share buyback and dividend program, and the list goes on. So why not shake up the board as well?

Apple's eight-member board currently consists of Tim Cook and seven other members who come from outside of Apple. It's often a good thing to have what we call "outside directors" because they are, in theory, less likely to just go along with whatever the CEO thinks is right. But that's obviously not always the case, and I doubt any of these board members would have strongly opposed anything Jobs wanted to do.

Steve Jobs likely didn't need the same kind of board that Cook needs. Jobs had special talents that most of us do not have. Tim Cook doesn't have Jobs' product vision and comfort in making super fast decisions about the quality of an idea or product. I think this is why Cook has promoted several of the Apple executives into expanded roles and explains why he's brought on new executive talent.

That's fine. Jobs wasn't a logistics and operations expert, which is why he brought in Tim Cook. So, it also stands to reason that Cook would want to build a board of directors that was better equipped to add value to the discussion of where Apple is going.

Given the ages, given the tenure, I think it makes sense to plan for the obvious. Some of these board members are going to change how they spend their time as they age, and spending more time on work is unlikely. Apple may as well recruit new, younger board members now.

Cook obviously has a plan for Apple, and the human resource moves he's made so far are a big clue. It shouldn't be surprising if a refresh of the board is part of the plans.

Chris Umiastowski

Former sell side analyst, out-of-box thinker, consultant, entrepreneur. Interests: Wife & kids, tech, NLP, fitness, travel, investing, 4HWW.