(For those who say I just don’t get it…get this!)
A few weeks back I dared pen the question: “Are Tim Cook’s Days As CEO Numbered?”
In that article I made following points. To wit:
“Should this take place with Apple’s continuous lack of innovations, dumbing down of existing products (see any forum of Apple power users) and continuing focus on both Tim Cook, his political stances, along with his pushing the involvement of Apple the company, its employees, and coffers into the political fray, simultaneously against a backdrop of uninspiring (think Pencil®), clichéd (think: any Apple presentation), openly mocked, (think: when demos were conducted on stage via Microsoft employees) laughed at, (think: CNET™ live coverage of any event) as well as live product demos gone wrong, (think: face recognition) displays on the world stage. This is a string of “hits” no one any wants, especially current share holders.
Should the stock now falter, along with any iPhone rumblings confirming sales numbers will look like what the latest roll out last month foretold? Watch how fast things not only change from the narrative of “great stewardship,” but calls for management change begin to bubble to the surface in unison.”
This made quite the media buzz and rounds, along with some business/financial outlets possibly needing to have defibrillators on set, and at the ready, for any next-in-rotation fund manager that may be asked for their thoughts on the matter.
This was a question for the “faithful” that was never to be asked in private, let alone, in full public view. After all – this is the world’s most coveted and valuable company, or was. To imply anything less than full-on devotion to both the product, the stock, along with its CEO has been met, and scorned, as financial blasphemy. And, any and all deniers were argued to meet the same fate as those resembling the inquisition of centuries past.
Then, I dared ask the unspeakable. Then – this happened yesterday, again, to wit:
Here’s where I’m going to ask you to answer the obvious “elephant in the room” question. Ready?
What CEO would mention or address questions of any sort about prepping his successors during what is publicly being viewed and reported on as a less than lackluster (and that’s being kind) rollout of its flagship product, along with, the week before an earnings report?
Stuff like this doesn’t “just happen.” Especially at this level. Unless, someone (or group of somebody’s) have asked behind the scenes the “what if” questions, where “trial balloons” needed (or recommended) to be floated in public, as to see what may be the response of such a momentous move at one of the largest market capitalized corporation, ever.
Here’s the tricky part of this: Is this, what I see as a “trial balloon”, being floated with the knowledge that if the earnings report is uninspiring, that the stage is set, and public, for the outright questioning of Mr. Cook’s leadership?
Or: If the adverse effects of such a headline is seen immediately in the stock via the HFT cabal and reacted to in a negative fashion – would a “fantastic earning beat” be just the salve (and rescue) to cover over any wounding that may have resulted?
These are the types of questions any Board would want answered if the question was being openly contemplated. Doesn’t mean that it is. But the timing, along with a few other pieces of circumstantial evidence such as the above, sure brings attention to it for anyone trying to pay attention.
Yet, here’s what I do know: No one dared contemplate the above, let alone ask it.
Until I did.
© 2017 Mark St.Cyr
Footnote: These “FTWSIJDGIGT” articles came into being when many of the topics I had opined on over the years were being openly criticized for “having no clue”. Yet, over the years these insights came back around showing maybe I knew a little bit more than some were giving me credit for. It was my way of tongue-in-cheek as to not use the old “I told you so” analogy. I’m saying this purely for the benefit of those who may be new or reading here for the first time (and there are a great many of you and thank you too all). I never wanted or want to seem like I’m doing the “Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah” type of response to my detractors. I’d rather let the chips fall – good or bad – and let readers decide the credibility of either side. Occasionally however, there are, and have been times they do need to be pointed out which is why these now have taken on a life of their own. (i.e., something of significance per se that may have a direct impact on one’s business etc., etc.) And readers, colleagues, and others have requested their continuance.