As reported last Friday, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs has resigned as CEO, and COO Tim Cook will replace him in that role. Jobs will stay on as Chairman of the Board, but relinquishes the day-to-day running of Apple to Cook. So who is Tim Cook? The obvious place to begin answering that question is, of course, with his biography on Apple's website:
Before being named CEO in August 2011, Tim was Apple's Chief Operating Officer and was responsible for all of the company’s worldwide sales and operations, including end-to-end management of Apple’s supply chain, sales activities, and service and support in all markets and countries. He also headed Apple’s Macintosh division and played a key role in the continued development of strategic reseller and supplier relationships, ensuring flexibility in response to an increasingly demanding marketplace.
Prior to his stint at Apple, Cook spent 12 years at IBM and a period as the Vice President of Corporate Materials for Compaq. But, of course, it's his career at Apple—past, present and future—that has set industry analysts to reading tea leaves and pouring over YouTube videos of corporate presentations, in search on some sort of clue as to how he'll attempt to fill Jobs' oversized shoes.
In building a portfolio of evidence, Exhibit A is probably Cook's letter to Apple employees, following the announcement that Jobs was stepping down:
I want you to be confident that Apple is not going to change. I cherish and celebrate Apple’s unique principles and values. Steve built a company and culture that is unlike any other in the world and we are going to stay true to that—it is in our DNA. We are going to continue to make the best products in the world that delight our customers and make our employees incredibly proud of what they do.
I love Apple and I am looking forward to diving into my new role. All of the incredible support from the Board, the executive team and many of you has been inspiring. I am confident our best years lie ahead of us and that together we will continue to make Apple the magical place that it is.
Exhibit B may well be the confidence that Apple has in Cook, as best demonstrated by the very generous compensation package given to him by Apple's Board of Directors:
"In connection with Mr. Cook's appointment as Chief Executive Officer, the Board awarded Mr. Cook 1,000,000 restricted stock units," Apple said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Half of the 1 million "restricted stock units," or RSUs, will be awarded to Cook in August 2015 if he is still with Apple, while the second half will be given to him in August 2021, again only if he is still employed by the company.
At Friday's closing price, the 1 million shares would be worth over $383 million.
Hardly the sort of incentive one would give to a temporary caretaker: Apple's executives clearly plan on Cook holding onto his new assignment for quite some time to come. As for the industry analysts, there's no shortage of commentary and free advice for Cook floating around the ether, at the moment. Should you have a few minutes to kill—undoubtedly a few minutes more than does Apple's new CEO, right now—you might want to read Larry Dignan, Johnny Major, Robert Dutt, Christina Bonnington, John Baldoni, and Adam Satariano and Peter Burrows.