Apple Computer Inc has clearly regarded board member Steve Jobs as its unquestioned chief executive officer over the last few months in all but name, but now the de facto role has been formalized, with Jobs appointed interim CEO by the new board of directors at its first formal meeting last week. Jobs, who had officially been serving as an advisor to Apple’s Board and executive management team, will hold the position until a new CEO is named. The board also met with John Thompson of recruitment firm Heidrick & Struggles, the man appointed to find that elusive person, and expects that a new chief executive will be named before the end of the year. The news comes just days after a radio interview with ousted chief Gil Amelio in which Amelio disagreed with Apple’s (read Jobs’) recent decision to abandon its Macintosh cloning strategy. Amelio also said that Jobs was more charismatic than he, and the kind of motivator that Apple needs, but he simply isn’t a good operating manager. Apple shares had a cautiously optimistic response to the announcement, rising $0.4375 to close at $21.9375.
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