While Apple is the most prominent company that will suffer from Steve Jobs semi-retirement, they are far from the only one. Walt Disney Co. and, by extension, their brands ABC and ESPN to Pixar may suffer as well; he technically sits on the board, even if health issues have kept him from attending a majority of meetings.
“I wouldn’t say he’s been a passive board member at Disney, but it’s come pretty close to that,” said Tuna Amobi, a media analyst with Standard & Poor’s. “People understand that his health issues have somewhat limited his ability to contribute fully as a board member . . . [and] are somewhat forgiving of that—he takes no compensation for his board role.”
Jobs has, however, lent his expertise in helping Disney revamp their own stores, with things like interactive displays and center stage theaters. These sorts of insights will be sorely missed if Jobs stops contributing to Disney.
“It’s a basic governance challenge: How do you create a succession plan for someone who can’t really be replaced ” said Ric Marshall, chief analyst with GovernanceMetrics International, an independent provider of corporate governance ratings and research. “You have to replace them as best you can and be prepared for the company to experience change. Disney itself is a great example of that. It’s like working Walt Disney all over again.”