Who is Tim Cook, and why did Steve Jobs choose him to run Apple in his absence?

Thu, Jan 15, 2009


With Steve Jobs taking a leave of absence until June, Apple COO Tim Cook will be handling the day to day operations of the company.  But who is Tim Cook?  Well, luckily for you dear readers, Fortune did an interesting profile on Tim Cook not less than two months ago.

Tim cook arrived at Apple in 1998 from Compaq Computer. He was a 16-year computer-industry veteran – he’d worked for IBM for 12 of those years – with a mandate to clean up the atrocious state of Apple’s manufacturing, distribution, and supply apparatus. One day back then, he convened a meeting with his team, and the discussion turned to a particular problem in Asia.

“This is really bad,” Cook told the group. “Someone should be in China driving this.” Thirty minutes into that meeting Cook looked at Sabih Khan, a key operations executive, and abruptly asked, without a trace of emotion, “Why are you still here?”

Khan, who remains one of Cook’s top lieutenants to this day, immediately stood up, drove to San Francisco International Airport, and, without a change of clothes, booked a flight to China with no return date, according to people familiar with the episode. The story is vintage Cook: demanding and unemotional.

Almost from the time he showed up at Apple, Cook knew he had to pull the company out of manufacturing. He closed factories and warehouses around the world and instead established relationships with contract manufacturers. As a result, Apple’s inventory, measured by the amount of time it sat on the company’s balance sheet, quickly fell from months to days. Inventory, Cook has said, is “fundamentally evil,” and he has been known to observe that it declines in value by 1% to 2% a week in normal times, faster in tough times like the present.

Check out the full story over here.  Highly recommended.


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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Steve Jobs HIV Says:

    Steve Jobs, meanwhile, will be putting his feet up today as he begins a leave of absence until June on health grounds. The Apple boss sent an e-mail to staff last night, explaining: “During the past week I have learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought… to take myself out of the limelight and focus on my health, and to allow everyone at Apple to focus on delivering extraordinary products, I have decided to take a medical leave of absence until the end of June.”


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