REVIVING THE SPIRIT OF BILL GEORGE

Analysts got a glimpse of new Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak during his first quarterly conference call last week.

Analyst Greg Simpson of Wunderlich Securities Inc. came away impressed. "Ishrak is the kind of leader that could revitalize the entrepreneurial spirit within the Medtronic workforce, something we believe has been missing for years," Simpson wrote.

Beyond entrepreneurial spirit, shareholders are hoping Ishrak can revitalize Medtronic's stock. Medtronic's total return under former CEO Bill Hawkins from August 2007 to June 13 was -6.8 percent. Total return during Art Collins' tenure as CEO from May 2001 to August 2007 was 3.4 percent. Investors would love to see Ishrak approach the returns the company enjoyed under Bill George's leadership, when from May 1991 to May 2001 Medtronic had an annualized total return of 30 percent.

Among the 32 analysts covering Medtronic, 11 have "buy," 19 have "hold" and two have "sell" recommendations.

 

APPLE IS JOBS

Few companies are as closely associated with their CEO as Apple is with Steve Jobs. While Jobs has battled health issues in recent years, he's remained central to the identity of the company. His resignation as CEO last week was not surprising, but it still will have a significant impact.

Trip Chowdhry, an analyst with Global Equities Research told the Associated Press: "Apple is Steve Jobs, Steve Jobs is Apple, and Steve Jobs is innovation. You can teach people how to be operationally efficient, you can hire consultants to tell you how to do that, but God creates innovation. ... Apple without Steve Jobs is nothing."

PATRICK KENNEDY