“I lovingly leave Apple in your care. Good luck, I’ll be cheering from the sidelines.”

Sun, Jul 11, 2010

Apple History, News

So said former Apple CEO Gil Amelio in his resignation letter sent to Apple employees on July 9, 1997. Since moving on from Apple 13 years ago, Amelio now works as a venture capitalist at Sienna Ventures.

To Apple employees everywhere,

Today, Apple announced my resignation as chairman and CEO of Apple Computer, effective immediately. I will remain an employee, but not an officer, until September 27, 1997, in order to effect a smooth transition.

I joined Apple on February 2, 1996, following a successful tenure as chairman, president, and CEO of National Semiconductor. I did so because as a board member of Apple it had become increasingly clear that the company was entering a period of extreme crisis and the very survival of the company as an independent entity was in question. Someone had to take on the task of trying to bring Apple back to health.

As we came to discover, Apple actually faced five crises from the outset: a shortage of cash and liquidity; poor-quality products; a lack of a viable operating system strategy; a corporate culture lacking in accountability and discipline; and fragmentation, trying to do too much and in too many directions. These issues persisted notwithstanding a number of extremely talented contributors. Much of my time at Apple has been about confronting these and other matters.

I am very confident that the decisions and actions taken have been the right ones. Today, these problems are either resolved or well on the way to being addressed. Today, Apple has the strongest product lineup in the history of the company. Today, we have an exciting operating system strategy and we are on the eve of announcing Mac OS 8, which has received very favorable reviews during beta testing. Rhapsody, our industrial-strength operating system, is close behind and will establish a new paradigm in operating system architecture. Today, we have the strongest management team in recent history. And today, we have a cost structure more in line with achievable revenues.

It has been very difficult, but much has been accomplished in the last 17 months as I believe will become increasingly evident in the months and quarters ahead. Apple’s next phase and remaining challenge is to follow through flawlessly on the programs we have launched and to rebuild the sales volume. I am confident that the team in place can handle this mission. On a personal note, I look forward to once again being able to spend a little more time with my family.

My time at Apple has been exciting and fulfilling. We have made great progress. It is now time to realize the value made possible by this work for all Apple stakeholders. Thank you for your unwavering support during my time here…it made the demands less formidable. I lovingly leave Apple in your care. Good luck, I’ll be cheering from the sidelines!




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