- Tram Ho
John Sculley appeared on Business Insider’s “America’s worst CEOs” list, saying, “He fired Steve Jobs from Apple.”
John Sculley, born in 1939, is an American businessman and investor. His reputation is known since working for PepsiCo.
In 1967, Sculley participated in a six-month training program for PepsiCo trainees and became a full-time employee. In 1970, at the age of 30, he became the youngest vice president of marketing for the world-renowned beverage company.
With legendary campaigns such as “Pepsi Challenge” or “Cola War”, Sculley contributed greatly to helping Pepsi become the number one beverage brand in the 1970s.
In 1977, Sculley’s career ladder took another step forward when the talented businessman was appointed president of the company.
Sell fresh water forever or change the world together?
John Sculley and Steve Jobs first met in 1982. Back then, Sculley was still president of PepsiCo, and Steve was looking to hire a CEO because the board thought the Apple cofounder wasn’t fit for that position. .
The Board of Directors hopes that Sculley will bring his experience to help “apple” to have a better marketing strategy for an emerging company and a young, inexperienced leader board, including Steve Jobs.
Holding the position of PepsiCo chairman with generous remuneration, Sculley hesitated a lot: “ We understand each other very well. But I told Steve I couldn’t go to Appl e. ”
Then, Steve stops, thinks for a moment, and says, “Do you want to sell soda for the rest of your life or want to accompany me and change the world?”
As a result, on April 11, 1983, Sculley joined Apple as the new CEO.
Not in the same direction
Despite a positive start, contradictions in marketing strategy soon arose. In 1985, following the direction of Jobs, Apple launched Lisa, the first computer with a graphical user interface (GUI). It’s a great technology, but sales are pathetically low.
The next project is the Macintosh. The business situation has improved but not enough to make a splash in the PC market. Therefore, Jobs wants to lower the price of Macintosh, increase marketing advertising for this product line.
“It was my fault. You guys force me to overvalue Macintosh. I want you to have a discount of 500 USD and transfer the proportion of advertising from Apple II to Mac. “, Sculley told Jobs.
Macintosh products did not achieve expected sales.
Sculley has the opposite opinion. He said that he was recruited into the company to promote Apple II and Macintosh is just creating unrealistic demand. If you reduce the price of your product and still have to spend a lot of money on marketing, your business will suffer a loss. Meanwhile, Apple is expected to meet its financial goals and only strong sales of Apple II can support it.
The board of directors is now on Sculley’s side. The CEO decided to ask Jobs to leave the Macintosh product line. The board said: “ Steve, we want you to give up on running the Macintosh department. You are causing trouble in the organization. ”. Shortly thereafter, because he could not reach a general solution, Jobs voluntarily left Apple.
“I did not appreciate it. For the founder and creator of the Macintosh, he was asked to resign from the very organization he created, which brought with him the desire to change the world. ” , Sculley lamented in an interview for many years. later.
After leaving Apple, Jobs founded a new company called NeXT, continuing his ambition to change the computer industry. And “defective apple”, under Sculley, has released the operating system System 7, for the first time brings color to the Mac.
But the CEO also made many mistakes. His marketing power did not compensate for his inadequate product management skills. Sculley believes in expensive campaigns. He invested heavily in Apple Newton, cameras and CD players but these projects failed.
Sculley’s biggest mistake was to bet Apple’s future on a new type of processor called PowerPC. The company had to pay a heavy price for moving its designs to the new standard while keeping the Mac price high.
In 1993, after the first quarter of bad business as well as the context of the increasingly fierce computer price war, Sculley and the management board contradicted the strategic direction. Later, he was forced to resign by Apple’s board.
Cracks cannot be repaired
Once close friends but different visions have made Steve Jobs and John Sculley become strangers, standing on two different battle lines.
“ He never forgave me for that. “, Sculley said in a 2015 conference.
“ The friendship between us has never been healed. It was a real shame because looking back, I found that I had made a big mistake. Removing a founder, even if he is not fired, is still a terrible mistake. ”
Source : Genk