By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2013-11-22









Dr. Gil Amelio, a one-time CEO and chairman at Apple, has been elected chair of the board of directors for 5BARz, a company that makes cellular network extenders.

Amelio recently stepped down from the AT&T board of directors to take a more hands-on role at 5BARz, the company said in a Nov. 21 statement. 5BARz CEO Daniel Bland called Amelio an “iconic business leader and visionary with an impressive track record in helping take companies with great ideas and products to the next level.” Amelio has a Ph.D. in physics and holds 17 patents. He developed the first “practical charge coupled (CCD) image sensor, which has been used to register images in consumer camcorders, digital still cameras, TV cameras and the Hubble Space Telescope,” 5BARz said in its press statement. “He has also patented important technology developments in semiconductor electronics and energy management.” 5BARz makes plug-and-play reception -boosters for homes and small offices, and in June announced that it had signed a deal with a multi-national carrier to design and build a network extender based on 5BARz’ patented technology. The company’s cellular booster technology “will be filtered to amplify solely the specific cellular signal bands that the wireless operator uses on its networks in [select regions].,” 5BARz said in a statement. “The Company together with the wireless operator is developing a thorough test plan …  Upon successful completion of the test plan, it is envisaged that the 5BARz solution be included within the wireless operators’ portfolio of solutions for coverage improvement.”

Amelio and Apple

Apple’s board recruited Amelio in late 1995 to replace CEO Jim Buckley, on whose watch the company posted a loss of more than $69 million. Amelio left his role as CEO of Apple-supplier National Semiconductor—which he is credited with turning around—to take the lead at Apple in February 1996. One hundred days into his tenure, Amelio announced that his strategy was “many small steps” rather than any big moves; that he planned to focus on “megatrends,” like the Internet, and that he was raising the stakes on competitors by upping the amount of memory in the Macintosh computer to 12 megabytes. In December 1996, Amelio announced that Apple was buying NeXT, the company that Jobs had gone on to create, for $400 million, and Jobs was coming back into the fold. Seventeen months after being hired, Amelio was ousted. On a conference call, then CFO Fred Anderson said Apple’s board was simply not happy with Apple’s performance and believed the company needed a new CE0, according to a July 1997 New York Timesarticle. Jobs acted as de facto chief, until on Sept. 17, 1997, he was officially named interim CEO. He was head of Pixar Animation Studios at the time and “refused to take over [Apple] permanently,” according to anotherNew York Times article. “Since Amelio’s ouster,” the report continued, “Jobs has cut off executive bonuses, reduced severance pay and eliminated sabbaticals. The company now is paying only for coach air fares for employees on trips shorter than 10 hours.” According to reports, Jobs eventually simply dropped the word “interim” from his title.