Some of the most impacting companies from the valley are or will be going through some drastic leadership changes and challenges. Even though I imagine their shareholders have been thinking about succession planning, leadership changes and preparing the next generation, even the most ‘powerful’ seem to be heading for quite a storm.

Some examples:
- Apple: Steve Jobs had to take some months off due to a recurring illness. How does a company, whose success is so closely related to the identity of 1 person, prepare for a future ‘after’ that person. Maybe Jobs will come back, or partly, or has to rest for a longer period. It’s like imagining Virgin without Richard Branson at the helm …
- Twitter: co-founded by Biz Stone, Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams. Dorsey had to leave, and created Square (one of the leading apps that allows to accept credit card payments anywhere with your iPhone, iPad or Android phone). They brought in another CEO (Costello). But about 1 year later, Jack Dorsey returns as president of the company. But … this time Ev Williams is out. So one of the companies that is shaping the way we are sharing, searching and communicating, is having a yearly change of CEO.
- Google: Eric Schmidt brought Google to where they are today. Google will probably reach approximately 35 billion dollars of revenue. (yes, 35). However, the Silicon Valley giant is being challenged on it’s strategy and position on mobile and social (amongst other). So co-founder Larry takes over the CEO position, and changes in his first weeks the complete structure. Read more here via techcrunch! (ps: I love the Google moves when structure follows strategy, it clears out a lot!)

I can go on about about many others like Yahoo, HP, etc.

We’re in a disruptive moment in the history of time, and companies all over the globe are struggling with leadership. It’s probably the toughest time ever to be a political or cultural leader. But also for Silicon valley, it’s an interesting time to see if they can remain the innovation powerhouse it has been for the past decades.

If you want to see if for yourself, join the Belgian Webmission in May 2011!

bart