By MICHAEL BUHRLEY & JAMES SPEAR
Gilbert F. Amelio, the embattled chief executive of Apple Computer Inc., was ousted in a boardroom overhaul that expands the role of co-founder Steve Jobs in running the company.
Amelio is the second chief executive in 1 1/2 years to be driven out by a displeased board of directors.
In addition to Jobs, Apple chief financial officer Fred Anderson also assumed new responsibilities. He will manage the company until a new chief executive is found, Apple said in a statement Wednesday.
The resignation is the latest blow to the troubled computer company, which has seen its Macintosh sales tumble amid doubts about its future, product problems and worries about a replacement for the Macintosh operating system.
While fulfilling his duties as CEO, Amelio surprised the Apple community by narrowing the product line. He also halted production on the long-awaited Copeland OS, opting instead to purchase NeXT, a small computer company, and its aging operating system, OpenStep.
Before Apple, Amelio was CEO for National Semiconductor Corporation. He led the company through a financial transformation that has resulted in record earnings for the past two years. He was also president of Rockwell Communications Systems.
After co-founding Apple at the age of 21, Jobs oversaw the growth of Apple into a $2 billion company. He left Apple in 1985 to form NeXT. Jobs can also be accredited with the formation of Pixar, which is best known for its computer animated feature film, “Toy Story.”
Apple established itself as a major supporter of education by flooding schools with low-priced Apple computers.
In a 1995-96 study by Quality Education Data, Apple was found to hold the number one market share position in K-12 education.
Sudden changes in Apple management appear to have had little affect on investors. Apple stock held steady throughout Wednesday.
Amelio’s departure is on the heels of other important figures to leave Apple recently.
Ellen Hancock, executive vice president of technology, has also announced that she will be leaving the company.