Friday, Aug 20, 2021, 17:40 Tips & Reports

Over 45 Years Of Apple & 7 CEOs – Part 1: Michael Scott

2020 marked Apple's 45th birthday as a company. The former garage company was founded with a startup capital of US$1750, an amount raised after Steve Wozniak sold his HP scientific calculator and Job sold his VW Bus. There was no CEO in Apple's early days, the first CEO was Michael Scott in 1977 – followed by Mike Makkala, John Sculley, Michael Spindler and Gil Amelio. Steve Jobs, perhaps the most broadly-known figure in Apple's history, only made his way to CEO 21 years after the company's founding. This marks the introduction to our multi-article series covering 7 CEOs who have sat at the head of Apple throughout the company's slightly over 45-year history.

Apple's First CEO
Michael Scott was Apple's first CEO, and perhaps even one of the company's most controversial. Some accredit Scott for leading the company to abandon its former carefree startup culture and becoming a force to be reckoned with. If so, this wasn't done in the most appropriate manner.

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Michael Scott, CEO From 1977-1981
Michael Scott became Apple's first CEO in 1977, 1 year after the company's founding, at a time when neither Wozniak nor Jobs had enough time to concern themselves with the more general leadership of the company. He was perhaps one of the company's most controversial. Some accredit Scott for leading the company to abandon its former carefree startup culture and becoming a force to be reckoned with. If so, this wasn't always done in the most appropriate manner. Prior to his new position at Apple, Scott worked for National Semiconductor, until Apple's Mike Markkula reeled him into the company. Apple's first CEO's reign at the company was a short one. On a day known at the company as "Black Wednesday", Scott hired almost 40 employees. Immediately prior, he had said, "I used to say that when being CEO at Apple wasn’t fun anymore, I’d quit. But now I’ve changed my mind — when being CEO isn’t fun anymore, I’ll just fire people until it is fun again.”

The odd part about the layoffs is that they came at a time in the company's history when sales were through the rough, doubling almost every month. However, Scott believed that Apple's rapid and unchecked expansion had led to a "bozo explosion", with the company now employing almost 2000 people – some of whom were, as per Scott, "bozos". Thus, he compiled a list of 40 people deemed unnecessary, invited them all to his office, and fired every single one of them personally – only to host a party afterwards. Needless to say, this didn't lead to him being the most popular in the office, an office previously marked by "fun startup culture" when Steve Jobs still had long hair and Steve Wozniak wasn't on his way out of the company.

Shortly after "Black Wednesday", Scott was demoted to Vice-Chairman by the same man who had invited him to the company, his friend Mike Markkula. Only a few months later, he quit, with the following note:

"So I am having a new learning experience, something I’ve never done before. I quit, not resign to join a new company or retire for personal reasons…This is not done for those who fear my opinions and style, but for the loyal ones who may be given false hope.
Yours. Michael, Private Citizen"

Although a controversial figure at Apple, some say that the company may have never grown up if not for Michael Scott.


Michael Scott, Apple's First CEO


Part 2 coming soon.

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