The conversations weren't explicitly aimed at recruiting a new chief executive and were more of an informal exploration of the company's options, said these people. The directors don't appear to have been acting on behalf of the full board, some of these people said. Apple has seven directors, including Mr. Jobs. It is also unclear whether Mr. Jobs was aware.
When contacted on the matter, Jobs said in an email, "I think it's hogwash."
Another WSJ source says that Apple's independent directors take succession planning seriously and have discussed management succession in private sessions without Mr. Jobs held at every board meeting for the past 12 years.
"It's best practice,'' this person noted. "Everybody in the room is sworn to secrecy as to what it [the succession] plan is."