John Sculley on Apple’s Jobs and the Experience of a Lifetime
In 1983, when John Sculley was 43, he had a choice. He could remain head of Pepsi-Cola Co. and jockey with several other executives to be named successor to then-PepsiCo Chief Executive Donald Kendall in a typical corporate executive shootout. Or, as Apple’s Steve Jobs put it to him then, he could give up selling “sugar water” and “come with me and change the world.”
Sculley’s choice would prove life-changing for both Jobs and the East Coast soda executive. He took the gamble to join Apple as its CEO, never knowing that Jobs, then 28, himself wanted the job, but had been denied it by the Apple board due to his temperamental nature and relative lack of managerial experience.
What began as a close and happy partnership degenerated into an irreparable business dispute. Jobs left Apple in 1985 only to return 12 years later after Sculley had been fired for refusing to license Apple’s operating system and subsequent management nearly bankrupted the company. Since then, Sculley has been making personal investments in private, new ventures.