Tim Cook

“I am where I am in life because my parents sacrificed more than they should have. Because of teachers, professors, friends, and mentors who cared more than they had to.” ~Tim Cook

Tim Cook Apple

Tim Cook
Image: POLLITO via Flickr CC

After Steve Jobs died in 2011, an almost impossible position opened up in the tech industry.  Someone had to lead a massive company, often viewed as the most innovative with one of the largest cult-like followings in the country: Apple.  That leader ended up being the man who took over for Jobs after he departed for medical leave, Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook.  Cook was hired by Jobs in 1998 to improve the company’s supply and distribution chains.  He succeeded in this strategy, and was able to dramatically increase profits for the business by streamlining Apple’s production practices.

Employees at Apple say that Tim Cook is famous for his simple, no-nonsense managerial style.  A famous story about his tenure as COO involved a problem with manufacturing in Asia.  Cook told the group that someone should be in China resolving the problem.  Several minutes later he turned to an executive in manufacturing and asked “Why are you still here?”  The executive apparently promptly left the meeting and boarded the first flight to China without stopping to pack.  Another employee said that Cook will often say simple sentences like that in meetings and it would send projects back to the drawing board immediately.  So while Cook may not have the charisma of Jobs, he definitely has the effectiveness.

Tim Cook grew up in Alabama and attended Auburn University.  After earning a bachelor’s in industrial engineering he received an MBA from Duke University.  Cook spent twelve years work for IBM’s personal computer division before joining Apple as a senior vice president of worldwide operations.   He is a self-proclaimed fitness nut and is an avid biker and outdoorsman.