Steve Jobs Versus Gil Amelio

Apple’s CEO at the time was Gil Amelio. Upon assuming office, Gil decided Apple was spending too much money. Simon Jary of PC World described Gil’s cost cutting:

"Receiving $100,000 for use of his private jet wasn’t the best start for Gil’s austerity measures – nor was his $1m salary or the nice little $5m loan he procured from the ailing giant. But Amelio did cut costs, slashing the workforce by a third." [1]

Every time poor Gil opened his mouth, he reminded journalists that Apple had lost its cool when it lost Steve. Fortune Magazine reported,

Amelio told us: "Apple is a boat. There's a hole in the boat, and it's taking on water. But there's also a treasure on board. And the problem is, everyone on board is rowing in different directions, so the boat is just standing still. My job is to get everyone rowing in the same direction so we can save the treasure."
After he turned away, I looked at the person next to me and asked, "But what about the hole?" --A Silicon Valley CEO recalling Amelio's description of his task at Apple during a cocktail party in spring, 1996.[2]
The first thing Steve did when he returned to Apple was chase Gil out of town. An anonymous Apple employee, who has known Steve since the Mac days – let’s call him employee # X - famously said, “Steve is going to f…k Gil so hard his eardrums will pop.’[3] Gil didn’t need much help being fired. During Macworld Expo San Francisco 1997, he spoke two hours over his allotted time. Gil inadvertently cancelled several presentations, including one by Muhammad Ali. Apple's stock dropped by almost 40¢ the next trading day.[4] It wasn't long before Steve moved into Gil's office. The new CEO changed the way he was paid. As employee #0, Steve’s annual salary is US$1. This has been in effect to this day. He expected his staff to follow his humble example. In the aforementioned Fortune article, Steve declared “When I returned, I took away most of the cash bonuses and replaced them with options. No cars, no planes, no bonuses”. Two years later, Steve picked up a US40 million-dollar Gulfstream V private jet plane from Apple as a bonus.  It costs Apple stockholders anywhere between US$4-550,000 per quarter to fuel, depending on how often Steve wants to fly.[5] When Gil was told about the jet, he said to Business Week, “I guess I was really cheap for Apple”.[6]

[1] Jary, S. (2010, September 22) Apple’s A1 Aqua Alphabet [Blog]. Retrieved from

[2] Schlender, B. (1998, November 9) The Three Faces Of Steve. Fortune Magazine.
[3] Heilemann, J. (1997, September 8) The Perceptionist: How Steve Jobs Took Back Apple. The New Yorker.

[4] Hormby, T. (2005, November 15) NeXT, OpenStep, and the Triumphant Return of Steve Jobs. From Blog Tom Hormby’s Orchard. Low End Mac. Retrieved from

[5] Elmer-DeWitt, P. (2010, October 28) Steve Jobs is back In the air. Fortune Magazine.

[6] Business Week (2000, January 21) What Gil Amelio Thinks of Steve Jobs and Apple Now.

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