The recent resignation of Steve Jobs as Apple’s CEO has left many wondering just what kind of man will step in and run the show. Fortunately, Tim Cook is no stranger to the tech industry, even if he’s not as well-known as his predecessor. Here are seven intriguing facts about Apple’s new leader.
Friends and associates describe the Alabama-born Time Cook as polite and soft-spoken. That said, he’s also described as being demanding, yet even-keeled. According to the Wall Street Journal, his slow drawl and manner can be very disarming.
Tim Cook graduated from Auburn University in 1982 with a degree in Industrial Engineering. That means he understands and is deeply grounded in what it takes to design a piece of electronics from scratch. In fact, he was nominated for “outstanding engineering graduate” by his Alma mater.
With over 30 years in the tech field, Mr. Cook has worked at IBM, where he gained his management chops and was even placed on the company’s “high potential list,” as former boss Ray Mays told the New York Times. Cook also served a brief 6-month stint at Compaq in 1997, then an industry heavyweight. He joined Apple in March of 1998.
According to a recent Fortune Magazine account, Tim Cook may not make a media splash like Steve Jobs, but he works extremely hard and tenaciously pursues his objectives. It was Cook who solved Apple’s supply chain woes by pulling the company out of the manufacturing business. He personally flew to China, with no return ticket, to secure factory deals. It was this bold move which greatly reduced inventory and associated costs.
Mr. Cook has worked at Apple for 14 years, first running the company’s entire sales and Mac division, working closely with Steve Jobs in the process. Cook also served as acting Apple CEO three times since 2004. Then Cook was tapped by Jobs himself to become Chief Operating Officer in 2007.
Since becoming Chief Operating Officer in 2007, Cook has guided the Apple ship well through the turbulent waters of Steve Jobs’s illness and a recession. Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD, credits Cook for keeping Apple’s growth going strong. “People always look at Apple as the place with shiny toys, but it’s also a place where the trains run on time,” Baker said. “And one of the things Tim Cook has done over the time he’s been there has been to create that level of efficiency. It’s one of the reasons Apple is such a profit machine.”
Sure, Tim Cook may not have the charismatic presence of the great Jobs. Even so, he has presided over some critical periods in the company’s history. And contrary to what many believe, Cook has been an instrumental fixture behind the scenes. Michael Gartenberg, Research Director at Gartner, agrees telling us, “Competitors thinking they can take advantage of the situation somehow are probably making a pretty big mistake. He’s tried and tested in this role and has effectively been running the company since January.”