That month Amelio had to face the annual stockholders meeting and

That month Amelio had to face the annual stockholders meeting and explain why the results for the final quarter of 1996 showed a 30% plummet in sales

from the year before. Shareholders lined up at the microphones to vent their anger. Amelio was clueless about how poorly he handled the meeting. “The

presentation was regarded as one of the best I had ever given,” he later wrote. But Ed Woolard, the former CEO of DuPont who was now the chair of the

Apple board (Markkula had been demoted to vice chair), was appalled. “This is a disaster,” his wife whispered to him in the midst of the session. Woolard

agreed. “Gil came dressed real cool, but he looked and sounded silly,” he recalled. “He couldn’t answer the questions, didn’t know what he was talking about, and didn’t inspire any confidence.”

Woolard picked up the phone and called Jobs, whom he’d never met. The pretext was to invite him to Delaware to speak to DuPont executives. Jobs

declined, but as Woolard recalled, “the request was a ruse in order to talk to him about Gil.” He steered the phone call in that direction and asked Jobs

point-blank what his impression of Amelio was. Woolard remembers Jobs being somewhat circumspect, saying that Amelio was not in the right job. Jobs recalled being more blunt:

I thought to myself, I either tell him the truth, that Gil is a bozo, or I lie by omission. He’s on the board of Apple, I have a duty to tell him what I think; on the other hand, if I tell him, he will tell Gil, in which case Gil will never listen

to me again, and he’ll fuck the people I brought into Apple. All of this took place in my head in less than thirty seconds. I finally decided that I owed this

guy the truth. I cared deeply about Apple. So I just let him have it. I said this guy is the worst CEO I’ve ever seen, I think if you needed a license to be a CEO

he wouldn’t get one. When I hung up the

phone, I thought,

I probably just

did a really

stupid thing.

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