‘Women’s time is coming’ says former Apple CEO John Sculley (video)

26 May 2015

Former Apple CEO John Sculley at Engage 2015 in Prague last week

Former Apple CEO John Sculley says a major change is coming in terms of female leadership across the spectrums of business, technology, education and government.

The world is changing and the new kind of leadership required in business, government and in the technology industry in particular will play more to the innate strengths of female leaders, Sculley said when talking to journalists at the Socialbakers Engage 2015 conference in Prague last week.

Looking back to corporate leadership in America and worldwide during the ’70s and ’80s, Sculley said that it was very hard for women to break through the glass ceiling and gain experience in the fields they had been academically prepared for.

“My wife is a great mathematician and scientist but the only job she was deemed to be suitable for was air hostess,” said Sculley.

He was responding to a  question on how the tech industry needs to change the ratio in terms of women in senior leadership positions in the industry, something we are passionate about here at Silicon Republic and that we are highlighting with our Inspirefest 2015 event next month.

The times they are a-changing

Sculley led Apple during the ’80s and ’90s and, prior to that, as CEO of Pepsi, engaged with Coca-Cola in the famous Cola Wars in the ’70s and ’80s. At Engage last week he outlined how he is planning to change the developing world and help 2bn people enter the middle classes through access to his Obi smartphone.

In his latest book Moonshot, Sculley writes about his insights on how he sees the world of business changing and he calls for businesses to put the customer first.

He also emphasised that, contrary to Silicon Valley myth, he did not actually fire Steve Jobs from Apple.

Looking to the future, Sculley said he believes that a major shift is occurring and that the time for female leadership in technology and other industries has finally arrived.

“It was very hard in our generation for women to get into the jobs you needed experience in. Fortunately the world is changing – look at leaders in the tech industry today, many are women. Women offer the type of leadership today and it plays to the strengths that women have more naturally than men: they are more collaborative and better listeners.

“In American universities the gender split is 60pc women and 40pc men and the best students are the women. The women’s time is coming – men made a mess of things in a lot of fields. I am a big supporter of women in public service, enterprise, education and science and women will have an increasingly important role.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years