In a surprising article from yesterday, Forbes contributor Peter Cohan, an author, former management consultant and former venture capitalist, has suggested that Apple's Tim Cook should step down. Falling profits, Cohan writes, suggest Cook is not up to the task of helming the company; he goes on to suggest that Jonathan Ive would be a good replacement. "Now it's time," Cohan writes, "for Apple's board to put the person with design skill in the CEO job."
My first thought was no. And I say that out of appreciation for Ive and his skill set. Ive's impact on the current product landscape cannot be underestimated, and he was able to do those things because he was doing his thing—designing.
The late Steve Jobs made it clear, in his Walter-Isaacson-penned biography, that he had set things up so that Ive would have uncontested design power following Jobs' departure; that is to say, no one, not even Cook, would have the power to challenge Ive's designs. So why on Earth would we want to tie the man up in a managerial position?
With the current headaches Apple faces—patent trolls, a market nearing saturation—they'll surely need a new generation of innovative products to break out of their profits slump. They're going to need good design, and they've already got the perfect man for that job.