Analysts Confident in Apple’s Prospects
Steve Jobs’s resignation as CEO of Apple is a stunning and historic shift for the company, but it’s unlikely to have a measurable impact on its financial performance for several years. Consensus among Wall Street analysts seems to be that the changing of the guard at Apple really doesn’t alter the company’s fundamentals much at all.
As J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz wrote in a note to clients Wednesday evening, Apple’s deep executive bench is very much up to the tasks ahead of it.
“While the day-to-day contributions of Mr. Jobs will be missed, we believe that the level of creativity and intelligence assembled throughout the management team and legion of Apple employees can sustain the Apple model and its industry leadership,” Moskowitz said. “We do not expect too much to change within the organization. In our view, the far-reaching successes of the iPhone, iPad, iPod, and MacBook Air reflect the work of many, not one. We have a favorable view of new CEO Tim Cook. He has a proven track record. As COO, Mr. Cook has been integral to driving the company’s unprecedented revenue and earnings growth phase, limiting disruptions to the operations. We expect his knowledge of Apple and its rigid product cycles, supply chain, and partners to result in little change to the go-to-market strategy.”
Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes echoed those sentiments, remarking on Cook’s proven track record. “While we do not believe that Steve Jobs is replaceable, it is worth noting that Tim Cook is a proven executive who can handle the pressure and knows how to run the inner workings of Apple in Jobs’ shadow,” he said. “… While the economy remains a concern for all companies in our sector, we anticipate Apple to gain substantial share in smartphone and PC-related segments as the entire company executes its strategy.”
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster described Cook as “the ideal candidate” to assume the role of the irreplaceable Steve Jobs. “Cook is capable of running Apple, but his rare combination of extreme humility and insatiable motivation make him uniquely suited to assume Jobs’ role as CEO and carry on his work with a peerless executive team,” Munster said. “While there may be concerns among investors as to whether or not Cook can continue Jobs’ streak of innovation, we believe there is no better candidate to assume the role. And in many ways, it will be Jobs and his deeply rooted vision that will always guide Apple and its leaders.”
And finally UBS analyst Maynard Um said he really doesn’t expect things at Apple to change much at all with Jobs no longer CEO. “We expect there to be no transition issues as Cook had been running daily operations as interim-CEO,” he said in a note to clients. “From a longer-term perspective, we believe Apple’s strategy is well laid out and believe Cook and his management team will continue to execute.”
And in all likelihood, that’s exactly what will happen. Because in the end Apple has one of the deepest and strongest managerial benches in the business, and it has been crafted by one of the most innovative minds in the industry. As I wrote back in 2009, “Yes, Jobs’s sensibility pervades Apple’s culture and its products, but that culture and those products are not tethered to his health or day-to-day presence at the company. And Apple’s deep executive bench is more than capable of running it — and running it well — in his absence.”
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