Apple elects Disney CEO to board and appoints non-exec chairman

Apple has elected Walt Disney chief executive Robert Iger to the board as the company looks to strengthen its connections with the entertainment industry.

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Iger’s expertise and clout in the media sector will give Apple extra strength ahead of the anticipated launch of its TV offer and content distribution services via the cloud. Disney’s input may also help Apple expand into emerging markets.

Apple’s recently deceased co-founder Steve Jobs became a board member and the largest shareholder of Disney when it took over Pixar Animation, the company he founded in the 1980s, and had worked closely with Iger. Disney was also one of the first media companies to offer its television programmes and films to Apple’s iTunes.

The company has also appointed Arthur Levinson, who has been on the board for more than a decade, as its non-executive chairman, replacing former chairman Jobs. Levinson is also chairman of biotechnology company Genentech.

Levinson has previously shown his allegiance to the company in 2009 when a federal investigation forced him to choose between keeping his seat on the board at Apple or one of its biggest rivals Google.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said Levison has made “enormous contributions” to the company since joining the board and that his insight and leadership skills are “incredibly valuable”.

The two appointments signal that Apple intends to keep its board in the hands of people Jobs had close ties to, despite now being run by an independent chairman.

Commentators had speculated that without Jobs dominating the company, Apple’s day-to-day operations may become more of a responsibility of the board.

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