Ex-Apple CEO to team up with local entrepreneur

SiS Technologies’ chief executive K.H. Lim with InflexionPoint’s John Sculley. They will work together to invest in businesses such as IT distribution and health care. -- ST PHOTO: NURIA LING
SiS Technologies’ chief executive K.H. Lim with InflexionPoint’s John Sculley. They will work together to invest in businesses such as IT distribution and health care. -- ST PHOTO: NURIA LING

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, 74, is teaming up with local entrepreneur K.H. Lim to invest in businesses such as IT distribution and health care.

The pair, who have known each other for three decades, are set to kick off the collaboration later this year in a tie-up between Mr Lim's SiS Technologies and Mr Sculley's InflexionPoint, which focuses on global IT supply chain.

Details will be released later, said Mr Lim, 56, who has built his firm into one of the largest IT distribution houses in Asean and Hong Kong in the last 30 years.

Mr Sculley said: "What we're discussing with K.H. is a new way to distribute tech products and services. The advantage is we've been in the tech industry for the last 30 years. So we know what works and what doesn't."

He is also keen to bring a service for sleep disorders here. One of his US firms, Sleepmed, offers a sleep testing service with about 200 centres, testing for sleep disorders such as sleep apnea - a temporary breathing halt.

"Many diseases can be attributed to sleep disorders such as obesity, hypertension, congestive heart failure and Type II diabetes. This is something that we can roll out in Asia with K.H."

Yesterday, Mr Sculley spoke at the Chief Information Officer Executive Summit organised by the IT Management Association at the Intercontinental Hotel.

Despite a well-publicised spat with Apple co-founder, the late Steve Jobs, he is a staunch defender of Apple. "I'm not concerned about Apple's future. It is the best run high-tech company in the world. And its CEO Tim Cook is a good executive. He says there will be new products this year and next. I believe him. Expect a great 2014 for Apple," he said.

Another thumbs-up for Apple is its loyal fans. "When the next iPhone comes out, its fans will upgrade to the new one. The market analysts don't seem to understand this. When Samsung announced the Galaxy 4, the interesting thing was the market was still buying Galaxy 3, the users weren't upgrading to the new model." So expect a "fan bounce" when Apple launches the next iPhone.

Mr Sculley was recruited by Mr Jobs from Pepsi to become the chief executive. The relationship between them went from great to rocky between 1983 and 1985.

They were great friends at first but a boardroom battle over marketing strategy changed that. The issue went to the board, which sided with Mr Sculley.

Mr Jobs was demoted in May 1985 and he left the company five months later. But Mr Sculley feels no animosity to Mr Jobs or Apple.

"Steve was brilliant. He's never about the power of technology, the bits and bytes. He was always about the user experience."

After Apple, Mr Sculley became an investor and mentor to entrepreneurs. He invested in tech, health care and other US firms. He is full of praise for Singapore's adaptive ways.

"It has been able to adapt to where the greatest opportunity was whether it was in tech or biotech. No country in the world has this kind of strong leadership over so many decades. That's the reason why we're doing our Asian business from Singapore."

chngkeg@sph.com.sg