October 14, 2005: Tim Cook takes over the reins as Apple’s chief operating officer, continuing to climb the company’s ladder that will make him CEO less than six years later.
“Tim and I have been working together for more than seven years, and I look forward to working even more closely with him to help Apple achieve some exciting goals in the years to come,” Steve Jobs said in a statement.
Tim Cook’s rise to the top of Apple
Prior to the promotion, Cook was Apple’s vice president of global sales and operations since 2002. Prior to that, he worked as Apple’s senior vice president of operations, joining the company in 1998 after a brief stint at Compaq.
Cook’s expertise is focused on operations and logistics. He liked nothing more than downsizing inventory. “You kind of want to manage it like you’re in the dairy business,” he once said. “If the freshness date passes, you have a problem.”
A few months after joining Apple, Cook reduced Apple’s inventory from $ 400 million last December to just $ 78 million. He could be brutal with suppliers and the people who work under him. But he deserved respect and became a favorite because of his rational approach to problems.
With his promotion on October 14 at the COO, Cook became responsible for all of Apple’s sales and business worldwide. He also led the Macintosh division and worked with Jobs and other CEOs from Cupertino “to run Apple’s entire business.”
Tim Cook: A different kind of Apple CEO
At the time, Cook’s future leadership of Apple as CEO was not guaranteed. However, his name apparently found its way onto a very short list of people to consider. His advancement in the COO certainly did not surprise anyone. He worked closely with Jobs for years.
What was interesting about Cook was how different he was from many others in Apple’s higher echelons. He was underestimated compared to Jobs and the like Scott Forstall, a senior vice president who dressed like Apple co-founder. (Forstall even drove the same silver Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG model as his boss.)
But Cook was like Jobs where it mattered. A stubborn negotiator, he proved tireless in his commitment to Apple — and obsessive in accomplishing feats that most other companies find impossible.
It definitely paid off.
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