My colleague Pedro has already drawn a fairly accurate picture of who Tim Cook is and what he has done to become the new CEO of Apple after the unexpected, not surprising, resignation of Steve Jobs. Now it’s the turn of the person, not the resume, who will from now on hold the reins of the world’s largest technology company.
This quote from Abraham Lincoln used by Tim Cook last year in his speech at the graduation ceremony at Auburn University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering back in 1982 could not be more foreboding. His words may not have been as inspiring as those of Steve Jobs at Stanford, but he certainly also conveyed an important message: “you can’t plan a predictable life”, you have to trust your intuition .
When Cook joined Apple in March 1998, just six months after Steve Jobs’ return, the company was on the verge of disaster. It is hard to believe that the same company that today exceeds in value the sum of the 32 largest banks in the euro zone could have stood on the brink just 13 years ago, but the truth is that Tim Cook’s was a leap of faith.
Fortunately, while Jobs was responsible for turning the company around and fellow newcomer Jonathan Ive led the way in industrial design with the launch of the first iMac in August 1998 and the iconic iPod in October 2001, Cook played a key role in Apple’s recovery by completely restructuring its manufacturing processes to speed up production and reduce inventory so that the supply line ran smoothly.
Someone might think this isn’t enough. That Cook can never fill the gap left by Steve Jobs but who do you think has been running the company since Jobs announced his temporary health retirement earlier this year? And during the other two medical absences in 2004 and 2009? Cook, always Cook. And here we are, with the company at its peak.
With these words, a newly arrived Cook began a meeting convened early in the morning because of a problem in Asia. “Someone should be in China handling this” . Thirty minutes later, he looked at one of the executives in front of him and suddenly asked him “Why are you still here?” The executive got up immediately, went to San Francisco International Airport and booked a flight to China with nothing but the clothes on his back, no toothbrush and no return ticket.
The anecdote, narrated in Fortune magazine, reveals a strong and demanding personality that bears more similarities to Jobs than we could initially imagine. Similarities such as his salary, also of a dollar a year (apart from incentives and the return on his shares, of course) or his dedication to the company working on a piecework basis to the point of receiving $40,001 in accumulated vacation time not enjoyed during the past year.
La sucesión de Steve Jobs en Apple: Preguntas y respuestas
Something tells me, he’ll have even fewer days off this year. Cook is more than capable of steering this ship in storm waters. The only doubt is whether he’ll be able to succeed Jobs on stage, under the spotlight and the watchful eye of thousands of eyes that are not content with a product being revolutionary; they expect it to be magical, and that magic was undoubtedly the secret ingredient of the great Steve Jobs.