October 14, 2005: Tim Cook takes the reins as Apple’s CEO and continues to rise upward through the company’s ranks that will make him CEO less than six years later.
“Tim and I have been working together for over seven years now 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 rises to the top at Apple
Prior to his promotion, Cook served as Apple’s vice president of worldwide sales and operations since 2002. Prior to that, he served as Apple’s senior vice president of operations and joined the company in 1998 after a brief stint at Compaq.
Cook’s expertise centered on operations and logistics. He loved nothing more than to downgrade the inventory. “You want to manage it as if you are in the dairy business,” he once said. “If it gets past its freshness date, you’re in trouble.”
Within a few months of joining Apple, Cook reduced Apple’s inventory from $ 400 million last December to just $ 78 million. He could be brutal with suppliers and people working under him. But he earned respect and was well-liked for his rational approach to problems.
With his promotion to COO on October 14, Cook became responsible for all of Apple’s global sales and operations. He also headed the company’s Macintosh division, working with Jobs and other Cupertino executives “to lead Apple’s overall business.”
Tim Cook: Another kind of Apple executive
At the time, Cook’s future leadership of Apple as CEO was not guaranteed. However, of course, his name appeared on a very short list of people being treated. His promotion to COO certainly did not surprise anyone. He had worked closely with Jobs for years.
The interesting thing about Cook was how much he differed from many others in Apple’s top row. He was underrated in relation to Jobs and the like as Scott Forstall, a senior vice president who dressed as the Apple co-founder. (Forstall even drove the same model silver Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG as his boss.)
But Cook was like Jobs, where it mattered. As a stubborn reseller, he proved tireless in his commitment to Apple and obsessed with achieving performance that most other companies considered impossible.
It certainly paid off.