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10 Things You Didn't Know About Arthur Levinson

Arthur Levinson

When anyone thinks of Apple, the natural immediate thought is Steve Jobs. There’s not another name that symbolizes Apple more than Jobs’ name; but since his passing, a few others have tried to fill in the gap. Arthur D. Levinson, current chairman of the company, is a much less popular name; but his role in the company can’t be ignored. In fact, Levinson has been chairman since 2011—and that’s not something to take for granted. After all, Apple is probably the biggest technology company in the world. If you’ve never had the chance to get acquainted with Levinson, here are 10 things to get you started.

1. Education

There are probably a ton of prerequisites you must have if you want to work at Apple, but there are really only a couple that matter. The first is vision, and the second is brains. Levinson definitely has the brains for the job. His educational background is quite impressive. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1972 from the University of Washington in Seattle. For his postgraduate degree, he decided to attend Princeton University. He achieved his PhD in Biochemistry. So essentially, you could call him Dr. Arthur Levinson.

2. Genentech

Although Levinson is a scientist, he’s always had some kind of technology connection throughout his career. After his PhD education, he became a postdoctoral researcher with a couple of impressive fellow scientists at the Department of Microbiology at the University of California, San Francisco. He was working with Nobel Prize recipients Michael Bishop and Harold Varmus when he was hire by Herb Boyer to work as a research scientist for Genentech. That year was 1980. By 1995, after working in different roles over the years, Levinson became CEO of Genentech. He became chairman of the company in 1999.

3. Awards

Levinson has won many prestigious awards in the biotech industry throughout his career. He was inducted into the Biotech Hall of Fame in 2003. In 2006, Princeton awarded him the James Madison Medal for his notable efforts in biotechnology and scientific research. In 2014, he was also recognized by his alma mater—University of Washington—by bestowing him the Alumnus Summa Laude Dignatus Award. This is the highest possible honor a Washington graduate could ever receive. These are just a few of his awards and recognition, and the list is quite long.

4. Apple

The scientist replaced Steve Jobs as Chairman of the Board for Apple in 2011, shortly after Jobs’ death in October of the same year. In 2012, Levinson was compensated $457,222 for his role as Chairman. That’s not a small sum at all; but considering the size of Apple, you’d think that number would be in the millions.

5. Net worth

As of 2018, Levinson’s reported net worth was at $100 million. That’s quite impressive for someone who’s always worked in the scientific industry. Levinson has amassed his fortune through various CEO and Chairman positions in his career. As he worked up the ladder from being a research scientist at Gentech to CEO within 19 years, Levinson also maintained a reputation for being a solid worker and a highly capable boss.


There are many benefits to being Apple’s Chairman. You have access to all the tech and endless connections as well. Of course, there’s also the hefty compensation and probably priceless bonuses as well. You’ll also get access to a multitude of Apple shares. As of 2016, Levinson has been reported to own over 1.2 million Apple shares. That’s essentially about $128 million in USD.

7. Herceptin

Although Levinson is now chairman of the tech company, majority of his most astounding work was still in the biotech field. In fact, his work in the scientific industry was crucial to the development of the breast cancer drug Herceptin. Herceptin is an approved treatment for early-onset breast cancer, but it’s also used for patients with metastatic breast cancer. The drug was a remarkable development in the fight against breast cancer, and Levinson was one of the scientists that made it happen.

8. Family life

Levinson has had a prolific career thus far, and the 69-year old chairman is not slowing down anytime soon. Although he’s a public figure, he maintains a private life with his family. Levinson married his wife Rita May Liff on December 17, 1978. The couple has two children together. There isn’t much out there about his wife and children, but Levinson is often seen accompanied by Rita in events. It shows a solid support system even after over 40 years of being together.

9. On Steve

Despite having been chairman of Apple for several years now, Levinson is often caught still talking about Steve Jobs. Apparently, the two were more than just colleagues. Levinson and Jobs were close friends. To this day, Levinson claims that Jobs’ absence is still felt in the boardroom. He’s finally had the guts to start reading Steve Jobs’ book, but he still can’t finish it to this day. Levinson states that every time he walks into the boardroom, he misses his friend.

10. On being boss

Levinson didn’t get to where he’s at by having a weak character. If there were one thing people say about him, it’s that Levinson says exactly what he thinks. This might not always make him the most popular guy in the room, but to him that’s secondary to tackling what’s important. He’s the guy that thinks running Apple is an odd job to have. Given his impressive resume, we’re positive that he’s got what it takes to run a company—even one as gigantic as Apple Inc.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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