Steve Jobs considered him a mentor and is known as Silicon Valley’s top executive. But after a long battle with cancer, Bill Campbell, died Monday. He was 75.
Campbell’s death was confirmed to Fox Sports by Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, a venture capital firm that often called upon Campbell to help teach and coach entrepreneurs amid the rapid growth often triggered by their innovations.
Campbell was also the chairman of the board of trustees of Columbia University and chairman of the board of Intuit Inc. He was VP of Marketing and board director for Apple Inc. and a CEO for Claris and GO Corporation.
Campbell, who is also known as “The Coach,” earned his moniker for advising tech leaders such as Apple’s Steve Jobs and Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt. Campbell started working for Apple in the 1980’s through marketing and sales then worked his way up to join the company’s board in 1997 after Jobs returned to his post as the company’s CEO.
Campbell would come out as Jobs’ closest mentor when the company was nearing closure and inspired Jobs to revolutionize the technology industry by redesigning its Mac computer then went on to release the iPod, iPhone and iPad. He would then cut ties with Jobs and Apple in 2014.
“Bill Campbell was a coach and mentor to many of us at Apple, and a member of our family for decades. Campbell believed in Apple when few people did and his contributions to our company, through good times and bad, cannot be overstated,” Apple said in a statement on Monday.
The same could also be said of Campbell’s contribution to Google as he help Schmidt compose its board of directors and build its culture to what it is now. He would also be the link in bridging the gap with the company’s co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
The Wall Street Journal reported other tech CEO’s who extended their gratitude to the help Campbell gave their company including Ben Horowitz, who is the co-founder of venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.
“Whenever I struggled with life, Bill was the person that I called. I didn’t call him, because he would have the answer to some impossible question. I called him, because he would understand what I was feeling 100 percent. He would understand me. I have never known anyone else who could do that like Bill,” Horowitz added.
Before venturing into Silicon Valley, Campbell also played football coach Buff Donelli from 1959 to 1961 at Columbia University. He was head coach of Columbia’s football team, the Columbia Lions from 1974 to 1979. Prior to this he was an assistant at Boston College for six years.
Campbell is survived by his wife, Eileen Bocci Campbell, and two adult children, Jim Campbell and Margaret Campbell. He also is survived by three stepchildren, Kevin, Matthew and Kate Bocci.
Photo Courtesy: Wall Street Journal @WSJ/Twitter