Tim Cook: 5 things about Apple's new CEO

From the Onion:

New Apple CEO Tim Cook: ‘I’m Thinking Printers’

Following the resignation of Apple founder Steve Jobs, incoming CEO Tim Cook called a meeting…to announce that he envisioned printers as the company’s future. “Laser, ink-jet, double-sided, color, black-and-white—the future of technology is in printers. I am absolutely convinced of that…

Cook concluded his remarks by assuring investors the release of upcoming Apple products such as the iPhone 5 would be postponed for at least four years so the company could throw all its time and resources into the creation of high-quality printers for the home and office.


It certainly touches on the fears that every Apple fanboy (myself included) harbors. So I ask, who is this guy, what is he like, and how is he likely to run the company?

Here are 5 quick insights to answer those questions:

1. He’s single (aka gay). An insightful article from Felix Salmon talks about the spicy world of gay executives. How coming out can hurt the brand image while not doing so can get you into trouble. He still hasn’t come out yet and is officially listed as a lifelong bachelor, but there is a printing of him in Out magazine as the most powerful gay man in the world.

2. Jobsian Temperament. If there is anything you know Tim Cook for it is his famous rant on how Netbooks suck, back in 2009:

“When I look at netbooks, I see cramped keyboards, terrible software, junky hardware, very small screens. It’s just not a good consumer experience and not something we would put the Mac brand on.”

To which Apple promptly released the 11-inch MacBook Air and then the iPad (definitely not Netbooks but directly competing with them).

It’s interesting to note that this comment occurred the last time Cook took over for Jobs as CEO.

A Forbes piece from 2008 discusses his personality, stating that his “default facial expression is a frown…his humor is of the dry variety…(and he) is cool, calm, and never, ever raises his voice”. Which would give you the idea that he is the opposite of Jobs until you read this:

“Cook can be brutal in meetings. “I’ve seen him shred people…He asks you the questions he knows you can’t answer, and he keeps going and going. It isn’t funny, and it’s not fun.”

If these remarks are true then it’s easy to see why Jobs named him sucessor. Another “smartest person in the room” who is not afraid to cut through the crap for success.

3. The operations to my design. Cook is generally considered an operations genius. He famously cornered the market on flash memory from 2005 to 2010. He revolutionized Apple’s supply chain, modernized the retail stores, and took over Mac and iPhone telecom operations.

Yeah, when it comes to running the business he is it. Filling in for Jobs greatest weakness, operations. The problem is that Cook’s own weakness’ are design and new products. One has to hope that he is aware of this and actively recruiting a snotty design genius to fill in his gaps.

4. Outside of work. He is the only Apple executive to sit on a board and he sits on Nike’s board of directors. Which means he wears Nike shoes to Jobs New Balance. He does sport jeans like Jobs but thankfully no turtleneck, just a spiffy dress shirt.

After a ridiculous misdiagnosis for Multiple Sclerosis he is a fitness nut, to include cycling and riding in fundraisers for MS. To replenish himself he eats energy bars, a lot of them. Nearly every article talks about how he downs them like candy.

5. Southern charm. Tim Cook grew up in Alabama and went to school in Alabama, at Auburn university. His office is said to be decorated with memorabilia from Tigers football (Auburn).

So you can see him live, here is a video of him giving the 2010 Commencement speech at Auburn.

Other. He is rich, really rich. Last year his salary was more than $50 million (including benefits and stock options). But, that doesn’t matter because he has acquired several hundred million dollars worth of Apple stock in his 13 years at Apple. In his new post as CEO, the Board voted to give him one million shares, but they have to vest. Half of them are his in 2016 and the other half in a decade.


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