Profile of Jeff Williams, SVP of Apple Operations

We started a new special at Apple focused on senior Apple executives. Most of them are quite well known and we have seen them numerous times in the keynote scenario, but it is not always known what role they play in the company or what responsibilities they have . With this special Who’s Who at Apple, we want to have a profile and a track record of each relevant executive.

We start with Jeff Williams , who although he does not have the official title of Chief Operations Officer (COO), his responsibilities and actions say otherwise. His current position is Senior Vice President (SVP) of operations. He joined Cupertino’s company executive team in July 2010, shortly after the Antennagate case. But who is Jeff Williams and what has his professional career been?

Profile of Jeff Williams, SVP of Apple Operations

Profile of Jeff Williams, SVP of Apple Operations
Profile of Jeff Williams, SVP of Apple Operations

Full name : Jeffrey E. Williams. Current position : SVP of Apple operations. Year of birth : 1964 (51 years old). Higher education : Graduate of the University of North Carolina. Graduate : MBA from Duke University, North Carolina. : joined Apple : 1998. Member of the Executive Team : since July 2010.


Like other Apple executives, Williams began his career at IBM

Jeff Williams began his career like many other employees in the technology sector: at IBM. He joined the company at the age of 21 in 1985, most likely through a summer internship at the technology giant. In 1998 he joined Apple as global purchasing manager and has remained with the company ever since.

It is curious the coincidences that has the trajectory of Williams with Tim Cook, current CEO of Apple. Both studied an MBA at Duke University, began their careers at IBM, joined Apple in 1998 shortly after Steve Jobs’ return as CEO and have had a career with similar responsibilities at the company.

This is what leads many to describe Jeff Williams as Tim Cook’s Tim Cook , in reference to the fact that when Jobs was CEO, Cook was in charge of running the operations. After his appointment as CEO, he combined his new duties with those of operations. However, it was clear that he needed someone like Williams to take over the day-to-day running of Apple.

It is very likely that Apple’s SVP will be on the CEO succession list

As for his future, it is expected that Williams will end up being named Apple’s COO in the next few years. This is an executive who has been working in the company for a long time and with very good results, as we will see later on. This leads us to think about the CEO succession plan that every publicly traded company should have. A plan B for the position currently held by Tim Cook.

It would not be unreasonable to think that he is part of that small list of candidates (one in which I doubt that Jony Ive wants to be part of), although Cook’s succession is still far away . He is only 3 years older than Williams and has no known health problems. So it would not be strange to see Cook in the position of Apple’s CEO for the next decade.

The achievements of Jeff Williams

According to Apple’s website, Williams was instrumental in the launch of the iPhone in 2007, participating in the management of Apple’s flagship product operations , in addition to the iPod. In an interview on Bloomberg in which Tim Cook spoke about the possibility of controlling Apple TV with the Apple Watch, Williams was quoted as saying the following:

From that same interview, we learned that the process of creating the Apple Watch has been peculiar. Apple created a complete and independent mini-company from the rest of the organization, a different way from how other star products of the company had been developed: Under his tutelage, Apple has become an almost perfect product manufacturing machine. But without a doubt, Williams’ greatest achievement is that Apple continues to be able to increase its production capacity year after year. If under the tutelage of Cook Apple was able to considerably reduce inventory times from several months to just a few weeks, it is now able to:

  • Coordinate the supply of parts and components with dozens of suppliers throughout your supply chain
  • Align the ramp-up of new product generations towards their launch dates.
  • Generate enough units to satisfy millions of purchases during the launch
  • Deliver 74.5 million iPhone units in a single quarter, breaking all records.

And all this on a global scale, involving dozens of countries in a very short time. Although it can always be held against you that waiting times when launching a new product or generation are still high. However, they are now falling much faster than in previous years.

Jeff Williams’ role in the media

Following the death of Steve Jobs and the appointment of Cook as CEO, Apple is experiencing a significant opening and communication with the media. In the case of Apple’s SVP operations, he had a very important interview last month during the ReCode conferences.

In it, Williams gave several keys about the future of the Apple Watch and mentioned that in the WWDC we would see an SDK to develop native apps on this device, which as expected was fulfilled. He also said that Apple saw the car as the ultimate mobile device.

It is increasingly common to see an executive like Williams interviewed in one medium, marking a change from previous years. A very calculated move by Apple, since they have always wanted their products to speak for the company and not their executives (beyond the traditional keynote).

Given the background and weight of this Apple executive, it is certain that we will continue to see his responsibility in the company increase in the coming years. For now, Apple’s operations are in good hands.

Especial Quién es quien en Apple.

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