Ex-Apple CEO John Sculley fully admits he should have never been CEO of Apple in an interview with Leander Kahney of Cult of Mac.”Looking back, it was a big mistake that I was ever hired as CEO,” he says. “The reason why I said it was a mistake to have hired me as CEO was Steve always wanted to be CEO.”
The board wasn’t ready to make Steve Jobs, then in his mid-20s, CEO. So it picked Sculley who was not the first choice. Here’s why it was a mistake according to Sculley:
- “I came in not knowing anything about computers,” he says.
- “My sense is that when Steve left (in 1986, after the board rejected his bid to replace Sculley as CEO) I still didn’t know very much about computers.”
- “My decision was first to fix the company, but I didn’t know how to fix companies and to get it back to be successful again.”
- Then he made “two really dumb mistakes.” One was picking IBM and Motorola with the PowerPC instead of Intel. “Intel lobbied heavily to get us to stay with them… (but) we went with IBM and Motorola with the PowerPC. And that was a terrible decision in hindsight…we totally missed the boat. Intel would spend 11 billion dollars and evolve the Intel processor to do graphics… and it was a terrible technical decision.”
- The other was not getting Steve Jobs back to Apple. “The board decided that we ought to sell Apple” in 1993. At that time he should have brought Jobs back. Instead nobody bought Apple, it struggled for years, then almost died.
- “During my era, really everything we did was following his philosophy — his design methodology. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as good at it as he was.”
Sculley also says Jobs won’t talk to him.