Big tech’s first generation of founders starts to step aside
Massive tech companies like Google, Amazon, Netflix, and more have had a huge impact on the way we live our lives, and have had incredible levels of financial success. Another thing many of these companies have in common is that their founders are no longer necessarily in control; they’ve either stepped down, started sharing power with others, or in some cases possibly even been pushed out.
This week alone, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey stepped down as CEO, and Salesforce founder Marc Benioff became a co-CEO. They’re not alone.
Alibaba — Jack Ma stepped down as CEO of the giant Chinese tech company in 2013, and retired from his position as executive chairman in 2019.
Amazon — In July 2021, Jeff Bezos officially handed the CEO position of Amazon over to former Amazon Web Services head Andy Jassy.
Apple — Around the time of his 10-year anniversary as CEO of Apple in 2021, Tim Cook said he doesn’t intend to run the company for another decade.
ByteDance — Zhang Yiming, founder of the company that owns TikTok, announced he’d be stepping down as CEO this May.
Google — In August 2015, Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin moved on to overseeing Alphabet, the holding company for Google’s disparate properties. The shakeup was seen as them taking their hands off the search engine company, leaving Sundar Pichai in charge, and in 2019 Pichai took over as CEO of Alphabet as well.
Instagram — In September 2018, Instagram’s co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger announced they were stepping down, reportedly after major disagreements with Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg.
Microsoft — Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ departure happened in many stages, with him first stepping down as CEO in 2000, then leaving his full time position at the company he helped found in 2008, and finally stepping down from his position on the board last year. Microsoft is currently being run by Satya Nadella, who acts as both CEO and chairman of the board.
Netflix — In July 2020, Ted Sarandos joined Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings as co-CEO.
Salesforce — Bret Taylor, who replaced Jack Dorsey as Twitter’s chairman of the board on Monday, is also becoming the co-CEO of enterprise tech giant Salesforce, according to CNBC.
Twitter — On Monday, November 29th, Jack Dorsey announced he was leaving Twitter.
Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey joins a long list of tech gurus who’ve quit the companies they founded. But what makes them step aside—and is it good for business?
From Microsoft’s Bill Gates to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, most of the people who created the Silicon Valley giants that dominate our lives have since handed the reins to someone else.
“Often a founder wants to preserve the company,” US tech analyst Rob Enderle said, giving IBM as an example of a major tech brand declining “as different managers came in”. “The subsequent executives increasingly focus on short-term monetary gains over long term strategic survival,” Enderle said. “That’s why there are very few companies that have lasted 100 years, because that cycle kicks in after the founder leaves.” (unquote)
Image courtesy gentechnews.com