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How Tim Cook Became Apple's CEO

Jun 01, 2021
Many of you probably know Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple. But you may not be familiar with how he got there. After all, Steve Jobs was the most iconic entrepreneur during his tenure at Apple. With the ability to create blockbuster products like the iMac, iPod and iPhone, and build multi-billion dollar companies like Apple and Pixar. He was often described as an innovator, visionary and genius. With a level of charisma so high that he could distort reality and convince anyone to do exactly what he wanted. So why did someone like Tim Cook become his successor? At first glance, Cook was the complete opposite of Jobs.
how tim cook became apple s ceo
Quiet and reserved, with experience in operations and data analysis rather than products. And before he

became

CEO, he actually wasn't one of the star players in Apple's executive lineup. That title usually fell to Jonathan Ive or Phil Schiller, who often appeared in Apple's keynotes and promotional videos. So how did he end up taking the top spot at Apple and becoming CEO of the company? Well, that's exactly what I'm going to explain in this video. It's Greg with Apple Explained, and I just want to take a moment to point out that yesterday was Apple's 45th anniversary, its founding on April Fools' Day in 1976.
how tim cook became apple s ceo

More Interesting Facts About,

how tim cook became apple s ceo...

And while Jobs was there from day one, Tim Cook wasn't. He didn't join the company until 1998. But to really understand Cook's qualifications, we have to go back further. He began his career in 1982, when he was hired at IBM's personal computer division. Cook rose through the ranks and eventually

became

chief compliance officer in North America. His success at IBM caught the attention of Intelligent Electronics, who offered Cook a position as chief operating officer of their computer reseller division. He took the job and earned a reputation as a logistical genius. He implements a production methodology called just-in-time manufacturing, where products spend as little time as possible in the production phase and as little time as possible in warehouses.
how tim cook became apple s ceo
Which results in less costs for the company, but also faster delivery times for customers. Cook became a well-known logistics figure in the computer business and was eventually offered an executive position at Compaq as vice president of corporate materials. He accepted the job, but didn't stay for long. When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1996, he realized the company needed a production overhaul. Competitors like HP were already entering the e-commerce space by selling computers online and experiencing success thanks to their tightly integrated production. So Jobs set out to find someone who could do the same at Apple and quickly decided that Tim Cook was the man he needed.
how tim cook became apple s ceo
Then Jobs invited him to the Apple campus for an interview. The

cook

accepted. Not because he wanted to leave his executive position at Compaq, the most successful computer company in the world at the time. But because he simply wanted to meet Steve Jobs. The guy he helped pioneer the entire computer industry. But when he arrived at the meeting and heard Jobs speak, Cook experienced something he least expected. Desire and enthusiasm to work for Apple. And there were countless logical reasons why it was a bad idea. Apple had been losing money for years, releasing one failed product after another and replacing CEOs on a regular basis.
Not to mention that they were estimated to be ninety days away from bankruptcy. And although Jobs was back at Apple, even he wasn't sure the company could recover. He sold all of his Apple shares except for one token share. At the time of Cook's interview, there were no signs of Apple's recovery. In fact, his survival depended entirely on the success of his next product, the iMac. And considering Apple hadn't released a big hit since the Apple II, most people were betting against it. And that's what made Tim Cooks' decision to join Apple so crazy. He was jumping ship from the world's most popular computer company, which he had just joined six months earlier, to one that was in the process of sinking.
It was a measure that surprised his family and colleagues, since it did not make any logical sense. But it wasn't logic that guided his decision. Looking back in an interview with David Rubenstein, he said, “It wasn't a decision where you could sit down and do the engineering analysis saying here are the pros and here are the cons, because that analysis would always say hold still. It was a kind of voice in your head saying, “Go west, young man, go west.” Now when I heard that, he reminded me of Steve Jobs saying that intuition is more important than intelligence.
And the fact that both Jobs and Cook share that ability to not only be in touch with his intuition, but also have the guts to bet their careers on it, makes it easier to understand how Cook ended up replacing Jobs as CEO. They were both guided by similar personal and professional philosophies and probably identified with each other on a very deep level. Now Cook ended up joining Apple as senior vice president of worldwide operations. Where he closed factories and warehouses and replaced them with contract manufacturers. This dramatically reduced the amount of inventory Apple needed to keep on hand.
From a few months of product, to a few days of product. He was also responsible for securing crucial parts for upcoming products. Like creating long-term agreements with flash memory card suppliers back in 2005. Years before the technology became widespread. That agreement allowed Apple to launch three high-volume products in just five years: the iPod nano in 2005, the iPhone in 2007 and the iPad in 2010, since there were no supply contracts or bottlenecks. That gave Apple a competitive advantage over companies like HP, which launched an iPad competitor in 2011 called the HP TouchPad, which workers said was made, quote, "from discarded and rejected iPad parts." It also saved Apple money, since demand for those parts was lower in 2005 than in 2011, when everyone was catching up with the iPhone and iPad.
Cook's incredible job performance earned him a promotion in 2007 to Apple's chief operating officer. He worked closely with all company executives and made the visions of Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive possible by ensuring a means of mass production of their products and a constant supply of parts. Something that often makes the final design of consumer products difficult. In fact, logistics is perhaps the most challenging and difficult part of a business. Therefore, traditionally, all departments depend on the production team. Designers, marketers, and engineers are all limited by what the production team can make. It is easy to create a prototype, but it rarely goes into mass production as it is impossible to manufacture at scale.
But Jobs ran Apple differently. All departments reported to the design team. Who always had the last word. So Cook was forced to plan ahead and find a way to mass produce all of his products without delays and at the lowest possible price. This is incredibly difficult work that, unfortunately, is rarely seen or recognized. Logistics is not a sexy job like product design or software engineering. Therefore, people like Tim Cook, who make everything run smoothly behind the scenes, don't usually get much attention. So whenever people talked about who would replace Jobs, Cook's name was rarely mentioned. Instead, people suggested Jonathan Ive, Apple's iconic industrial designer.
Or Scott Forstall, their legendary software engineer who designed the Mac's Aqua interface. But neither of those people would have been a good choice. Because a CEO's job is not to be the best product designer or software engineer, Steve Jobs himself was neither of those things. He is to be the best leader. That they can recognize great people, make great decisions often based on intuition and bring out the best in their workers, all to ensure that the company runs smoothly and is heading in the right direction. And when it comes to those qualities, no one at Apple was better than Tim Cook.
In the same interview I mentioned above, Cook was asked if he was a star athlete, a star academic, or a tech nerd growing up. And Cook responded: "I'm not sure I can say I was a star." And I think that's the defining characteristic of him and the biggest strength of him. Cook is one of the most complete executives Apple has ever had. He may not be designing products, but he does have a degree in industrial engineering. He may not build assembly line machinery, but he did participate in employing robotic manufacturing at IBM. And he may not have the most charismatic personality, but his skills as a team leader and manager have earned him praise from workers.
Those who say that he is less aggressive and more likely to reward someone for a job well done, while Jobs assumed that doing a great job was reward enough. He even avoided the number one danger of CEOs replacing legendary leaders like Walt Disney or Steve Jobs, who have been considered irreplaceable. The new CEO often tries to make decisions based on what the previous CEO could do, rather than doing what he believes is right. And Cook has proven to be his own leader, with his own style and his own priorities. He is much more focused than Jobs on human rights, philanthropy and environmental efforts, but he shares the same love and unwavering commitment to Apple.
And the decisions he has made so far have led to the company becoming the most valuable in the world and the most popular with customers. Something I'm sure Jobs would be very proud of if he were around today. Alright guys, thanks for watching until the end and don't forget to subscribe to help decide what topics I cover.

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