The New York Times today profiled COO and day-to-day CEO Tim Cook, looking into the executives background and management style, both clear departures from those possessed by Jobs. What the two do share, however, is an exhaustive attention to detail and an uncanny ability to extract the best out of colleagues and business associates.
Described as a relentless worker, the Times relays a story wherein Cook landed in China for a business meeting at 6 a.m and was still operating at a high energy level 12 hours later, long after local executives had already grown tired.
They were absolutely exhausted,” said Michael Janes, the Apple executive who accompanied Mr. Cook. “Tim was not. He was ready to jump to the next slide and the next slide after that. He is absolutely relentless.”
Originally joining Apple in 1998, Cook was tasked with streamlining Apple’s operations, making them efficient, and more importantly, profitable.
Apple was smaller then and largely focused on making PCs. Its operations were a mess.
Apple was still running its own factories in California, Ireland and Singapore. While more profitable and efficient companies like Dell had moved to a just-in-time manufacturing model, Apple still held 90 days of inventory.
Mr. Cook closed Apple’s factories and outsourced all manufacturing to a far-flung network of suppliers in Asia. Inventories decreased to 60 days, then to 30 days, then to the just-in-time model. Mr. Cook virtually lived in airplanes, traveling the world to meet with suppliers and browbeat them into meeting his demands.
Though not as bombastic as Jobs, Cook reportedly commands as much respect from colleagues and co-workers as Jobs. Indeed, Cook is the executive Jobs has trusted to run the company each time he’s been forced to step away for medical reasons. More recently, Cook took the stage with Verizon executives to announce the impending arrival of the iPhone 4 on Verizon.
You can check out the entire NYT profile of Cook over here (subscription required).