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Levinson Takes the Lead at Apple

Forbes reports that Apple has named former Genentech chief executive Arthur Levinson its new non-executive chairman. He replaces Steve Jobs, who died October 5.

Mashable's Ben Parr breaks down Apple's decision with a short profile of Levinson, saying the Genentech chairman, who earned a PhD in biochemistry in 1977, has served on Apple’s board of directors for more than a decade. ("Only Intuit’s Bill Campbell and J.Crew's Millard Drexler have served longer on Apple’s board," Parr says.)

Levinson's career at Genentech began three years out of his PhD studies, "when he was recruited as a research scientist by Genentech co-founder Dr. Herbert Boyer," Parr says, adding that he then "quickly moved up the ranks, becoming the VP of research technology in 1989 and senior VP of R&D in 1993." Levinson was named Genentech's CEO in 1995. In 1999, he also became chairman of the biotech's board. Levinson stepped down as CEO in 2009 when the firm was acquired by Roche, though he remains chairman.

"What kind of change can we expect from Apple with Levinson in charge of the board? Not much. Levinson has served as co-lead of Apple’s board since 2005, only relinquishing that title in August when Steve Jobs stepped down as CEO and became the company’s chairman," Parr says. "In other words, don’t expect Levinson to change Apple’s magic formula. He helped create it."

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