Bill Campbell on Steve Jobs: He Couldn’t Do It His Way Anymore

Apple will continue to feel the presence of Steve Jobs even with the iconic leader no longer its CEO, board member Bill Campbell says.

Campbell (pictured) spoke briefly about Jobs during an on-stage interview at the Demo conference this week. He shied away from details, but offered insight into the Jobs’ decision to forsake his operational post to become board chairman.

In August, Jobs resigned from his role saying he could no longer meet the duties and expectations of the position. He didn’t offer an explanation.

But Campbell, also chairman of Intuit, said that liver transplants are energy sapping. Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2004 and underwent a liver transplant in 2009.

“I don’t know if he couldn’t do it anymore,” Campbell said of Jobs. “He couldn’t do it the way he wanted.”

For Jobs, filling Apple’s top job required lots of energy with regular travel and the ability to go morning, noon and night.

Campbell said Jobs continues to be active in mapping Apple’s strategy. He added that a key lesson he learned from Jobs is that business success is all about product design.

Designers need to look at every nuance to get them right, he said.