Apple passes on late Steve Jobs’ chairman title to Arthur Levinson

16 Nov 2011

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks to employees at a celebration of Steve Jobs' life at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California, in October

Apple has named its long-serving director Arthur Levinson as chairman of the board. The position had been vacant since the passing of Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs in early October.

Jobs had been chairman for less than two months before his death. Jobs created the position when he stepped down as Apple chief executive in August.

Levinson has been a co-lead director of Apple’s board since 2005. He has served on all three board committees – audit and finance, nominating and corporate governance, and compensation – and will continue to serve on the audit committee. Apple has also announced that Robert A Iger, president and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, will join Apple’s board and will serve on the audit committee.

“Art has made enormous contributions to Apple since he joined the board in 2000,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “He has been our longest serving co-lead director, and his insight and leadership are incredibly valuable to Apple, our employees and our shareholders.”

Levinson said he was “honoured” to be named “chairman of Apple’s board and welcome Bob” (Iger) to the Apple team.

“Apple is always focused on out-innovating itself through the delivery of truly innovative products that simplify and improve our lives, and that is something I am very proud to be a part of,” said Levinson.

Arthur Levinson’s background

Levinson has had a distinguished career in the biotechnology field. Born in 1950 in Seattle, Washington, he is the former chairman of Genentech (1999-2011), and former chief executive officer (1995-2009). He has authored or co-authored more than 80 scientific articles and has been a named inventor on 11 United States patents.

Levinson also served as a director of Google, Inc. from 2004 to 2009, when he resigned from Google’s board of directors.

He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1972, and his PhD in biochemistry from Princeton University in 1977. He then moved to a post-doctoral position with Michael Bishop and Harold Varmus in the Department of Microbiology at the University of California, San Francisco, from where Genentech’s Herb Boyer hired him for a position at the company.

Currently, Levinson is a member of Genentech’s Scientific Research Board. Levinson is also chairman of the board of NGM Biopharmaceuticals, Amyris Biotechnologies, Inc. and the Broad Institute.

He also serves on the Board of Scientific Consultants of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the Industrial Advisory Board of the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3), the Advisory Council for the Princeton University Department of Molecular Biology and the Advisory Council for the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics.

Levinson was inducted into the Biotech Hall of Fame at the 2003 Biotech Meeting of chief executive officers.

In 2006, Princeton University awarded Levinson the James Madison Medal for a distinguished career in scientific research and in biotechnology. Also in 2006, Barron’s recognised Levinson as one of ‘The World’s Most Respected CEOs’, while the Best Practice Institute placed Levinson on its ’25 Top CEOs’ list.

In 2008, Levinson was elected as a Fellow to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. In that year, rated him as the “nicest” CEO of 2008 with Levinson gleaning a 93pc approval rating.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic