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Apple elects new chairman, cosies up to Mickey Mouse

Levinson hoisted, Disney CEO jumps on board

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Apple has elevated long-time director Arthur Levinson to chairman of its board in another sign of post-Jobsian change at the fruity firm.

The Jesus-mobe maker didn't actually have an official chairman of the board when Steve Jobs came back to Cupertino in the 1990s, although to all intents and purposes Jobs was the chairman.

The title didn't come into play however until Jobs' illness forced him to resign as CEO, at which time he became chairman until his death a month or so later. Before that, Apple instead had two "co-lead directors".

The fact that CEO Tim Cook wasn't also elected chairman of the board marks a change from Apple's previous somewhat autocratic corporate structure, and brings the firm more in line with typical companies where the two roles are separate.

Levinson, who is also the chairman of biotech firm Genentech, has been one of those co-lead directors since 2005. He started out as a research scientist for Genentech in 1980, according to an Apple statement.

Apple has also strengthened its ties with entertainment powerhouse Disney by electing its president and CEO Robert Iger onto the board.

The fondleslab manufacturer and the home of Mickey Mouse already have strong ties through Steve Jobs, who was a board member and the biggest shareholder in Disney after he sold Pixar Animation to the company in 2006.

Snuggling up to Disney is also a good move for Apple if it's serious about this Apple TV rumour that refuses to die, or indeed for better access to any of the brands and media Disney has in its vaults.

"[Disney CEO Bob Iger's] strategic vision for Disney is based on three fundamentals: generating the best creative content possible, fostering innovation and utilising the latest technology, and expanding into new markets around the world which makes him a great fit for Apple,” CEO Tim Cook said in a canned statement. ®

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