Steve Jobs sudden departure from the post of Apple CEO, and his recommendation of Chief Operating Officer (COO) Tim Cook to replace him, has many scratching their heads and asking “Who’s Tim Cook?” So much so that, as of this writing, “Tim Cook” is a Twitter trending topic, and the second most searched for term regarding him is “Tim Cook Wiki.”
Mr. Cook is Southern boy – a native Alabaman and an Auburn Tiger and a Dukie, which means he graduated from Auburn and from Duke, getting his Industrial Engineering and MBA degrees.
Cook developed an expertise in supply chain management and materials, and after working for Compaq, IBM, and Intelligent Electronics, was hired for Apple by Steve Jobs. At Apple, Cook is credited with getting the firm out of making its own products, moving it to outsourcing, and increasing profit margins along the way.
Tim Cook (executive) has been the acting CEO of Apple for some time, and I think that Steve would have felt it appropriate that he should continue in this position, rather than potentially upsetting the pace of the company with a CEO, such as (Jonathan) Ive or (Scott) Forstall, who would need to catch up on the day-to-day operations of Apple, with which Cook has been intimately familiar for years as COO.
Ive and Forstall have certainly both been influential and increasingly public figures in recent years. However, they are each accountable and best suited for certain non-business aspects of Apple’s operations. They likely don’t have the familiarity with Apple’s corporate workings as Cook had as COO and has had as acting CEO.
It’s also important to note that taking either of these creators away from his current work could mean an upset in the output of that department. Scott Forstall has been leading iOS for a while, and his departure would mean a shift in the management of the division. Likewise, Jonathan Ive’s design work has been considered one of the driving forces behind Apple’s success. Taking either man away from what he does best, and putting him in a position that he is not familiar with, would be rather detrimental to Apple’s future.
On the personal side, Cook, who is 50, is reportedly a fitness buff who enjoys running and working out in the gym. He’s single, described as “intensely private,” and Gay. OUT Magazine had already picked Cook as a potential Apple CEO when it wrote:
Each time Steve Jobs takes medical leave it’s Cook—“soft-spoken [and] intensely private,” to quote The New York Times — who steps up to lead the world’s most valuable tech firm. While it is Jobs’ prescience that has kept the Cupertino, Calif., company at the cutting edge of technology, it’s Cook who made sure Apple could deliver as demand rocketed. Leader – in – waiting? Most definitely.
But can Cook fill the massive creative void that will be left by Jobs move to the Chair? My assertion, as I’ve stated, is there’s only one Steve Jobs, so the answer’s a massive no. That “no” was also offered by A. M. Sacconaghi Jr., an analyst with Sanford Bernstein & Company, who said to the NY Times “He is going to have to look to others to provide the creative vacuum left by Steve.”