The Men Who Fired Steve Jobs: Where Are They Now?

As the Apple CEO introduces his new iPhone today and the company's market cap passes Microsoft's, the man who infamously fired him, John Sculley, tells The Daily Beast's Thomas E. Weber about his regrets, their rift—and how their partnership could have worked: Jobs should have been the CEO, and Sculley's boss, rather than the other way around. Plus, other 1985 board members on Jobs then and now, and where they are today.

Paul Sakuma / AP Photo

Paul Sakuma / AP Photo

NAME: A.C. Markkula Jr., 68

THEN: A low-profile high-tech veteran who came together with Jobs and Wozniak to recruit early investors and co-found Apple. But when tension developed between Sculley and Jobs, he backed Jobs’ ouster—and spent the rest of his years on the board presiding over a succession of CEOs and more than $1 billion in losses.

NOW: Vice chairman of Echelon Corp., a remote-automation company and also a trustee of Santa Clara University.

Plus, full coverage of Jobs: tributes, photos, videos, and more.

NAME: Peter O. Crisp, 77

THEN: A founder of Venrock Associates, he brought the financial backing of the Rockefeller family to Apple and an East Coast presence to the board—but was never close to Jobs and left Apple’s board shortly before the ouster. Of Jobs and the early Apple team, Crisp recalls them as very undisciplined.

NOW: Crisp departed Apple’s board in 1996 after 16 years. “It was a very challenging 16 years,” Crisp tells The Daily Beast. “The company almost imploded on several occasions.” Among other roles, Crisp went on to serve as a director at American Superconductor; a board member at U.S. Trust; an adviser to Knightsbridge Advisers, an early-stage venture investor; and a board member at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

NAME: Philip S. Schlein, 75

THEN: A seasoned Macy’s executive, Schlein came to Apple’s board as a retailer, not a technologist. He never appeared as a big player in Apple’s dramas and left in 1987—but stuck with the world of startups after that as a venture capitalist.

NOW: A partner at U.S. Venture Partners, a Silicon Valley fixture that was an early backer of Sun Microsystems and currently holds investments in scores of high-tech startups. Schlein left the Apple board in 1987. Since then, Schlein has been a director at many companies, including Gottschalks, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2009. Schlein also has a family wine business in Napa Valley. His son, Ted, is a managing partner at venture-capital behemoth Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

NAME: Arthur Rock, 83

A founding father of Silicon Valley, the legendary Rock dealt with his fair share of geniuses, including Intel’s founders. But in Jobs, he was faced with an eccentric, uncompromising control freak. Recalling those days for an oral-history project at the University of California, Berkeley, Rock said, “Steve Jobs was a problem; he was very headstrong, very much the enfant terrible… He upset people at the company and wanted to do his own thing, and wouldn’t tell people what he was doing—and yet he was one of the big stockholders. So finally, we had to take his position away from him, and then he left and formed his own company, which didn’t sit too well with what he wanted to do versus what Apple was doing.”

NOW: Even in his 80s, Rock remains a player in venture capital as principal of his firm, Arthur Rock & Co. In 2003, he gave $25 million to establish the Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School, where he earned his MBA in 1951. In 2009, The New York Times reported that Rock’s name appeared on the customer list of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities.

NAME: Henry E. Singleton, died 1999

THEN: Singleton was another Silicon Valley all-star. In 1960, he had co-founded Teledyne, and built it into a huge conglomerate of technology, defense, and other businesses. (Rock was a crucial Teledyne backer.) During the Sculley-Jobs turmoil, Singleton was Teledyne’s chairman.

NOW: Singleton died in 1999, after stepping down as chairman of Teledyne in 1991. The conglomerate strategy eventually unraveled, and the company was broken into numerous businesses.

AP Photo

NAME: John Sculley, 71

THEN: After arriving as CEO in 1983, he and Jobs were at first inseparable. Sculley had built his career at Pepsi, where he was credited with creating the "Pepsi Challenge." (Jobs is famously said to have lured him to Apple with the challenge, “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life or do you want to come with me and change the world?”) Then came financial pressures and the disputes that would ultimately push Sculley and the board to strip Jobs of his responsibility for the Macintosh division. Sculley’s tenure at Apple became known for its introduction of the Newton MessagePad, a touch-screen computer that debuted shortly before his departure.

NOW: Sculley is a venture capitalist and partner at Rho Ventures and, among other things, is a director at OpenPeak, a startup that develops technology for touch-screen devices. Soon after he was pushed out of Apple in 1993, Sculley jumped into what would become a big mess by becoming chairman and CEO of Spectrum Information Technologies, a wireless company. Sculley proclaimed it as a perch to help transform digital technologies, but in 1994 he quit and sued Spectrum’s president, Peter Caserta, amid revelations of an SEC investigation into actions by Caserta and other Spectrum employees. Sculley, who said he was misled about the state of the company, sued Caserta. Spectrum countersued, then both sides dropped their suits. Spectrum filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1995.