Tim Cook's crucial role at Apple extends well beyond his 5 years as CEO

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 2016
Though Wednesday marks the five-year anniversary of Tim Cook officially taking reins at Apple, he actually oversaw the company's day-to-day operations well before he was named CEO, and during some of its most difficult days.

Apple Exec Team
Cook, Jobs & Schiller in 2009 | Source: Getty Images.


Late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs resigned as CEO on Aug. 24, 2011, making Wednesday the official five-year mark for Cook's tenure. Jobs was forced to step down because of health complications, and the legendary tech titan would pass away just a few weeks later, on Oct. 5, 2011.

But while Cook's fifth anniversary as CEO is a milestone worth noting, it's also not fully representative of the leadership role he assumed at the company, particularly as he was prepped for the CEO role in the years prior.

Not Cook's first rodeo



Though it wasn't a permanent, official distinction, Cook first took over Apple's daily operations in January of 2009, when complications from pancreatic cancer forced Jobs to take a leave of absence. At the time, Cook was Apple's chief operating officer.

Jobs was intensely secretive about his health, which made the ascension of Cook a surprise.

Cook's six-month tenure in 2009 as de facto CEO came at an incredibly crucial time for the company, as he oversaw the launch of the iPhone 3GS. At the time, the iPhone 3GS proved to be Apple's most successful handset to date, during a period when the company's continued success in the rapidly changing smartphone industry was no guarantee.

JobsandCook
Tim Cook talks with Steve Jobs | Source: SiliconAngle


On its launch weekend beginning June 19, 2009, the iPhone 3GS went on to sell over 1 million units. The corresponding iOS 3.0 software update, then known as iPhone 3.0, was also downloaded by more than 6 million customers.

That same week, Jobs was spotted back on Apple's campus in Cupertino, returning to a more hands-on role at his company following his liver transplant. Jobs's return was made official at a music-related media keynote held in September of 2009, when the legendary presenter took to the stage in San Francisco, announcing a new iPod nano and iPod touch, as well as a 160-gigabyte iPod classic.

The appearance of Jobs onstage led to a standing ovation that lasted 45 seconds. But Jobs was quick to point out that it was his handpicked team at Apple who successfully carried on operations during his absence.

The one employee Jobs singled out while onstage that day? Tim Cook.

Tim Cook: Steve Jobs's handpicked successor



Born and raised in Alabama, Cook attended Auburn University, where he earned a Bachelor's degree in Industrial Engineering. He then went to business school at Duke University, receiving his M.B.A. in 1988.

Cook came to Apple in 1998 after a short stint at Compaq, but the bulk of his experience, which Jobs has called a "rare combination," comes from the 12 years he spent at IBM, where he served as director of North American fulfillment.




Jobs hired Cook from relative obscurity, after reportedly being impressed by his "unflappable demeanor," according to a recruiter present at an early meeting between the two. That meeting was described by Cook as a monumental, life changing opportunity.

"My most significant discovery so far in my life was the result of one single decision -- my decision to join Apple," he said during a speech at his alma mater in 2010. "Working at Apple was never in any plan that I outlined for myself, but was without a doubt the best decision that I ever made."
Though Cook once described Jobs as "irreplaceable," Apple would soon call on him to do just that.
Cook went on to overhaul Apple's operations, transforming them into a smooth and efficient supply chain. Apple's competitors were left scrambling to match its pricing for revolutionary products such as the iPad and MacBook Air, which benefitted from Cook's operational expertise.

Cook tends to keep a low profile, having been described as carrying the "courtly demeanor of a Southern gentleman." That's a contrast from Jobs, who was known for his fiery temper. Cook is also renowned for his work ethic, taking pride for being the first to arrive in the office and the last one out the door.

Though Cook once described Jobs as "irreplaceable," Apple would soon call on him to do just that.

January 2011: Apple again turns to Cook



Jobs's return to Apple after a 2009 leave of absence was filled with memorable moments, most notably the debut of the first-generation iPad in January of 2010.

He even surprised Wall Street in October of 2010 when he joined one of his company's quarterly earnings conference calls. Such an appearance by Jobs was rare --?those duties were typically relegated to (you guessed it) Cook.

Jobs was inspired by Apple's first $20 billion quarter, and participated in the call to tout his company's success, while also slamming rivals like BlackBerry and Google.

Most memorably, Jobs used the call to suggest that makers of smaller tablets would need to ship sandpaper with their devices, so users could file down their fingers to the point where they could hit smaller targets on the screen.




Only a few months later, however, Jobs was once again forced to step down in January of 2011 due to his declining health. Though he retained the title of CEO, Cook once again assumed day-to-day operations, just as he had done in 2009.

While it wasn't immediately apparent to everyone, Jobs and Apple were clearly grooming Cook to become the full-time, official CEO. But the transition wouldn't be final until later that year.

Aug. 24, 2011: Tim Cook takes over



Having essentially served as CEO for the past 8-plus months, and having taken a much more prominent role at the company since Jobs's health issues began years prior, Cook was officially named Apple's chief executive officer on Aug. 24, 2011. In a statement delivered that evening, Jobs announced he was no longer fit to serve as his company's CEO.

Jobs, unsurprisingly, recommended that Cook be named CEO. The Apple Board of Directors agreed unanimously.

"The board has complete confidence that Tim is the right person to be our next CEO," Art Levinson, chairman of Genentech, said on that date. "Tim's 13 years of service to Apple have been marked by outstanding performance, and he has demonstrated remarkable talent and sound judgment in everything he does."

Steve Jobs


By that point, Cook's prominence in the public, in the tech sector and among investors had grown. He was widely regarded as an operational genius and a key player in the tremendous growth of the iPhone lineup since the blockbuster product debuted in 2007.

Though Cook lacks Jobs's charisma and stage presence, at the time he was seen as someone who could keep the company's momentum going for years. Few, however, could have predicted just how successful he would prove to be.

Five years later



During his first five years, Cook's success has largely hinged on the iPhone. But his company has debuted new form factors and new product categories, and chosen to go in bold new directions, under his watchful eye.

While he doesn't have Jobs's showmanship, Cook still inspires customers to open their wallets.




His success has been rewarded -- Wednesday's five-year milestone earned him nearly a million shares of AAPL, currently worth over $100 million. He'll receive another 280,000 restricted stock units every year until 2021, at which point his 10-year anniversary would also net him an additional 700,000 vested shares.

Five year's into Cook's official stint as CEO, that October 2010 call where Jobs celebrated Apple's first $20 billion quarter seems almost quaint. Since taking over as chief executive, Cook has blown away those numbers.

In fact, Apple earned nearly four times that amount --?a whopping $75.9 billion in revenue --?in its biggest quarter ever last holiday shopping season.

"As most of you know," Jobs said on that famous 2010 call, "I don't usually participate in earnings calls, since you're all in such capable hands."

As it turned out, Jobs had already placed Apple itself in quite capable hands as well.
gregg thurmanstevehpatchythepiratelollivertopper24hoursargonaut

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    ...and this is why the transition was so smooth.
    He had been running Apple all along under the watchful eyes of Steve Jobs.
    Happy Anniversary Tim.  Keep up the good work.
    FelixMendeldogfracracerhomiestanthemangregg thurmancalimwhitestevehnolamacguypatchythepirate
  • Reply 2 of 20
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,766member
    Steve Jobs was great but Tim Cook was groomed and chosen by Steve so noting less. Excellent job and don't let jibber-jabber articles/blogs by idiots on internet affect what you do at Apple. As Steve said, ignore the noise and focus on building the best products..
    racerhomiecalimwhitestevehpatchythepiratebigrepressthisandrewj5790lolliversteveau
  • Reply 3 of 20
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,746member
    Tim Cook strikes me as a very humane person too.
    spice-boy
  • Reply 4 of 20
    Anybody calling for Cook's head doesn't have the intelligence/foresight of an insect.
    mwhitenolamacguypatchythepiratesingularitybigrepressthislolliveropa karltopper24hoursspice-boy
  • Reply 5 of 20
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,374member
    sog35 said:
    I like Cook.

    But his slow reaction to bull crap the media spills is hurtful.

    Look at bendgate.

    And now the bullcrap about 'touch disease'.  He is allowing some no body tech to crap all over the iPhone brand. That tech said the touchscreen failure is a risk for every single iPhone6/6+ ever made. Yet Cook does nothing. 
    Well Steve wasn't any better. Apple would never acknowledge an issue (Mac or iOS) until it became mainstream news and then all of a sudden it was acknowledged with a fix coming (or released).
    Deelronbigrepressthisandrewj5790Rayz2016lolliverargonaut
  • Reply 6 of 20
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,487administrator
    The "touch disease" is a thing that needs to be watched, but it certainly is not affecting every iPhone 6/6+ ever made, nor will it.

    Some design choices made at the time have aggravated the chances of it happening, in much the same way that some design choices for the Microsoft Xbox 360 caused problems.

    Apple isn't bad at instituting REA programs over time. It just may not be as fast as some might like.
    repressthisDeelron
  • Reply 7 of 20
    Congratulations Tim! I am looking forward to your next five years at Apple!!
    patchythepiraterepressthislolliveropa karl
  • Reply 8 of 20
    sog35 said:
    I like Cook.

    But his slow reaction to bull crap the media spills is hurtful.

    Look at bendgate.

    And now the bullcrap about 'touch disease'.  He is allowing some no body tech to crap all over the iPhone brand. That tech said the touchscreen failure is a risk for every single iPhone6/6+ ever made. Yet Cook does nothing. 
    Apple is a million times better with PR in the Cook era. And it seems like they're getting better at it, particularly in managing expectations prior to product launches.

    The area where I think Apple needs to improve PR is in the perception of Apple in general. People I talk to, even people who are generally Apple users, see Apple as any other large corporation, they are suspicious, and tend to have a negative take. People automatically assume that Apple drove plant workers to suicide, don't know about Apple's environmental efforts (or the environmental benefits of making devices that last more than twice as long as their competitors), are paranoid about using Apple Pay despite Apple's efforts in security and privacy, and generally aren't aware of how much Apple has helped push technology forward.

    I think that people buy Apple products because they are great products, but that way too many do so in spite of a negative perception of Apple, not because of a positive perception.

    I think that Apple employees are insulated from all this by the fact that they know how great Apple is in all these areas, and how strong Apple is as a company. Also, in silicon valley, they're surrounded by people who are also aware of these things.

    I think Apple and Tim are doing an excellent job, and are doing and saying the right things, but they're just doing and saying them fairly quietly. Also, for various reasons, almost no one in the media seems invested in telling a positive story. Perhaps the idea within Apple is not to brag or boast in an effort to show that they're doing these things because they're right, not because they want credit. However, the vast majority of people aren't going to know any of this, and a quiet or tepid message from Apple is just confirmation that their suspicions are correct. Apple may be a company with a soul, but people don't see Apple that way. They need to be shown.

    I think Apple should do more to show what it's about, and on a regular, routine basis, and not just with the products, but with Apple as a whole. Apple should be a celebrated company, but instead it's picked at at every opportunity, and successes are begrudgingly acknowledged. That shouldn't be the case. Apple is doing a great job managing the expectations and perceptions of their products; I wish they'd do the same for the company as a whole.
  • Reply 9 of 20
    bigbig Posts: 36member
    macxpress said:
    sog35 said:
    I like Cook.

    But his slow reaction to bull crap the media spills is hurtful.

    Look at bendgate.

    And now the bullcrap about 'touch disease'.  He is allowing some no body tech to crap all over the iPhone brand. That tech said the touchscreen failure is a risk for every single iPhone6/6+ ever made. Yet Cook does nothing. 
    Well Steve wasn't any better. Apple would never acknowledge an issue (Mac or iOS) until it became mainstream news and then all of a sudden it was acknowledged with a fix coming (or released).
    Ha ha ha! Right? Remember "Antennagate"? Steve's initial, unintentionally funny response was "you're holding it wrong!" The situation did get sorted, but Lol! 
    repressthisargonaut
  • Reply 10 of 20
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    big said:
    macxpress said:
    sog35 said:
    I like Cook.

    But his slow reaction to bull crap the media spills is hurtful.

    Look at bendgate.

    And now the bullcrap about 'touch disease'.  He is allowing some no body tech to crap all over the iPhone brand. That tech said the touchscreen failure is a risk for every single iPhone6/6+ ever made. Yet Cook does nothing. 
    Well Steve wasn't any better. Apple would never acknowledge an issue (Mac or iOS) until it became mainstream news and then all of a sudden it was acknowledged with a fix coming (or released).
    Ha ha ha! Right? Remember "Antennagate"? Steve's initial, unintentionally funny response was "you're holding it wrong!" The situation did get sorted, but Lol! 
    if by "sorted" you mean that:

    - Jobs got on stage and proved with carrier data that there wasn't any significant greater number of call drops

    -  that competitor phones were susceptible to attenuation if put it into a similar death grip

    - that tech bloggers are mean spirited toward Apple

    - that Apple continued to sell the iPhone 4 with no modifications for years to come 

    ...yep, they sorted it all out. non-issue, driven by a spiteful tech media frenzy. 
    edited August 2016 repressthistmaylolliverDeelrontopper24hoursuraharaargonautindyfx
  • Reply 11 of 20
    bobroobobroo Posts: 95member
    Why it necessary for this article to note all the Steve Jobs history? 

    Over the past 5 years hasn't Tim Cook done enough/not enough to be evaluated on his own? 

    Or, will everything Tim Cook be somehow posthumously credited to Steve Jobs into perpetuity???
    zimmermanntopper24hoursTurboPGTargonaut
  • Reply 12 of 20

    Tim would never say this, so I'll say it for him - "You ain't seen nothing yet!!".

    Looking forward to the next 20 years Tim!!

  • Reply 13 of 20
    Tim is better than Steve at growing Apple profits that's about it.  Apple is at the middle or end of their cycle.  It doesn't have the identity it used to under Steve, it is now a stable matured company waiting for it's next big hit if it ever can find one to buy.  Google has outpaced Apple in innovation because they've taken a few pages from Steve.  

    Google realize that it needs to spin off it's business to different parts just like Steve left Apple to start neXT in order to be innovative.  

    The next 20 years, Google will outpace both Apple and Microsoft combined because it has set the right pieces in motion and just a matter of time it give them the next big innovation.  

    The only thing Tim has done was grow profits with the same product line with more variations.  There has been no big hit since the iPad.  
    bobroo
  • Reply 14 of 20
    vision33r said:
    Tim is better than Steve at growing Apple profits that's about it.  Apple is at the middle or end of their cycle.  It doesn't have the identity it used to under Steve, it is now a stable matured company waiting for it's next big hit if it ever can find one to buy.  Google has outpaced Apple in innovation because they've taken a few pages from Steve.  

    Google realize that it needs to spin off it's business to different parts just like Steve left Apple to start neXT in order to be innovative.  

    The next 20 years, Google will outpace both Apple and Microsoft combined because it has set the right pieces in motion and just a matter of time it give them the next big innovation.  

    The only thing Tim has done was grow profits with the same product line with more variations.  There has been no big hit since the iPad.  
    I don't think that if Steve was still alive there would be 'big hits'. Making, conceiving, something new and disruptive takes time and is not successful every time. I like what Apple did with the Apple Watch under Tim.
  • Reply 15 of 20
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 1,450member
    vision33r said:
    Tim is better than Steve at growing Apple profits that's about it.  Apple is at the middle or end of their cycle.  It doesn't have the identity it used to under Steve, it is now a stable matured company waiting for it's next big hit if it ever can find one to buy.  Google has outpaced Apple in innovation because they've taken a few pages from Steve.  

    Google realize that it needs to spin off it's business to different parts just like Steve left Apple to start neXT in order to be innovative.  

    The next 20 years, Google will outpace both Apple and Microsoft combined because it has set the right pieces in motion and just a matter of time it give them the next big innovation.  

    The only thing Tim has done was grow profits with the same product line with more variations.  There has been no big hit since the iPad.  
    ah okay, could you give us a few examples of how Google has "outpaced" Apple. Do you mean Android? Apple is not in the search business I believe nor do they do much with selling ads, Google's hardware is not good, remember Google Glass? I may be missing something please let us know. 
  • Reply 16 of 20
    TurboPGTTurboPGT Posts: 355member
    sog35 said:
    I like Cook.

    But his slow reaction to bull crap the media spills is hurtful.

    Look at bendgate.

    And now the bullcrap about 'touch disease'.  He is allowing some no body tech to crap all over the iPhone brand. That tech said the touchscreen failure is a risk for every single iPhone6/6+ ever made. Yet Cook does nothing. 
    You react this way a lot, and you seem to not realize, that this so-called negative press that you are always so worried about has absolutely no real world effect on the company or the products. 
  • Reply 17 of 20
    TurboPGTTurboPGT Posts: 355member

    bobroo said:
    Why it necessary for this article to note all the Steve Jobs history? 

    Over the past 5 years hasn't Tim Cook done enough/not enough to be evaluated on his own? 

    Or, will everything Tim Cook be somehow posthumously credited to Steve Jobs into perpetuity???
    Tim has overseen the best products Apple has ever released in its history, and made more money than anyone could have ever imagined.

    The constant never ending comparison to Steve is for morons.
    patchythepirate
  • Reply 18 of 20
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    The "touch disease" is a thing that needs to be watched, but it certainly is not affecting every iPhone 6/6+ ever made, nor will it.

    Some design choices made at the time have aggravated the chances of it happening, in much the same way that some design choices for the Microsoft Xbox 360 caused problems.

    Apple isn't bad at instituting REA programs over time. It just may not be as fast as some might like.
    "Touch disease"? Source? 
  • Reply 19 of 20
    TIm was quoted by a reporter in one of the most recent TV spotlights stating that he never thought Steve would actually pass away that soon after taking over the reigns... meaning, he thought that Steve would remain as Chairman and continue to control him and the others in management as he had done during the sick years leading up to the resignation and death. Steve, being as egomaniacal as he was, probably assumed he would bounce back like he had done many times before and thought the Chairman role would be just enough to continue his control over the company... but that obviously didn't happen. One could speculate that the mundane last 5 years under Tim Cook's rule has transpired the way it has because there simply was no plan other than a few grandiose spoken (and rejected) ideas from times past and that the real planner (Jobs) died with his plans.
Sign In or Register to comment.