Apple named Arthur D. Levinson as non-executive chairman of its board and added Disney CEO Robert Iger as a board member, the first board-level reshuffle the company has made since the passing of co-founder Steve Jobs almost six weeks ago.
Jobs became Apple chairman after stepping down from the CEO post in late August. The company did not name a successor following his death.
Levinson, a molecular biologist who is also chairman and former CEO of Genentech, has been the co-lead of Apple's board since 2005. Before that, he came on as a board member in 2000, and has served on all of its committees. Levinson is also on Roche's board of directors, and a director at the biotech companies Amyris and NGM Biopharmaceuticals, as well as at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
Iger, meanwhile, is credited with helping to broker the 2006 deal in which Disney acquired Pixar for $7.4 billion and made Jobs a Disney director. Iger also paved the way for bringing ABC's TV shows to the iTunes Store.
"I am honored to be named chairman of Apple's board and welcome Bob to our team," Levinson said in a statement. "Apple is always focused on out-innovating itself through the delivery of truly innovative products that simplify and improve our lives, and that is something I am very proud to be a part of."
"Bob and I have gotten to know one another very well over the past few years and on behalf of the entire board, we think he is going to make an extraordinary addition to our already very strong board," Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement. "His strategic vision for Disney is based on three fundamentals: generating the best creative content possible, fostering innovation and utilizing the latest technology, and expanding into new markets around the world which makes him a great fit for Apple."
When Jobs returned to Apple, he cleaned house on Apple's board in 1997, putting into place a boardroom of business titans including Oracle chairman and CEO Larry Ellison, former CFO of IBM and Chrysler, Jerry York, and Bill Campbell, the CEO of Intuit. A report in the Wall Street Journal last month suggested that Campbell would get the nod as chairman. Prior to Jobs assuming that role, Apple had two co-lead directors--Levinson and Campbell.
As it stands, Apple's board is comprised of individuals with an unusually broad range of business experience, from technology and biotechnology to government, retail and beauty products. The addition of Iger adds more depth to that talent pool, given his role an entertainment heavyweight.
As Apple's biography of Levinson notes, he's authored or co-authored in excess of 80 scientific articles, and is listed as the inventor on 11 U.S. patents. He also holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Washington, and a doctorate in Biochemical Sciences from Pinceton University. Three years ago he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.