Let me be the first to say that Tim Cook has done a superb job at Apple… Operations has taken the front seat, and the focus on it will continue with the recent elevation of Jeff Williams, COO and now Chief Design Officer (with the departure of Apple’s iconic Jony Ive last month). This marks Williams unequivocally as the CEO heir apparent.
But is it what this company most needs?
The opposite seems to make more sense, grooming a true visionary CEO, a design-minded behemoth who can serve and fuel the company’s DNA while being influenced (by a talented COO) to channel that vision into operation friendly output… I love market valuation increases, operational efficiencies, and higher margins as much as the next business leader. But I’d feel more excited about and mentally invested in the future (not just the future of Apple) if the next CEO were more like Steve Jobs than Tim Cook.
MacDailyNews Take: First of all, there was only one Steve Jobs. Visionaries of his ilk don’t grow on trees and they’re not “groomed.”
Secondly, can no one bother to look at Williams’ and Cook’s ages? They’re nearly identical in age! Tim Cook is 58 years old. Jeff Williams is 56.
Accordingly, we view Williams more as an insurance policy than a successor. If all goes well, by the time Tim Cook retires, Williams will be close to or at retirement age, too. If Cook decides to leave and do something else before retirement age, then Williams is right there, ready to step in for Apple. For Cook, there won’t be the years of succession questions that Steve Jobs faced.
The CEO can work with whichever visionary eventually arises (they’re rare, but Apple attracts
top-notch, er… high quality talent).