Apple CEO Tim Cook and his deputies are increasingly focusing on a succession plan as Cook enters his tenth year as Apple CEO.
Mark Gurman for Bloomberg News:
[Cook’s] The leadership team is mostly filled with senior vice presidents who have worked at Apple for more than two decades, earned tens of millions of dollars and are in or near 55 to 60 years when many former executives have stepped aside. This, along with typical business planning, has spurred the Cupertino, California-based company to cultivate its next-class top executives, said people familiar with the matter and asked not to be identified and talked about internal company discussions …
The next group of executives will have to navigate growing global antitrust issues, build stronger relationships with app developers, reduce dependence on Chinese manufacturing and find devices or new services that can lead the company beyond the iPhone.
The CEO has not given any indication that he is ready to retire, but if the 59-year-old Cook continued tomorrow, look no further than Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams, 57, to take over. Williams is seen as the heir, having run the company’s global business under Cook in recent years.
MacDailyNews Take: Of course, if Cook were to retire at age 65, for example, it would make little sense to have Williams take over at age 63.
In many ways, Williams is seen as pragmatic as Cook and as someone who does not let the company miss a beat. He is an operations-focused leader like Cook instead of a product visionary like Jobs or former design manager Jony Ive.
MacDailyNews Take: If Cook quits at the age of 65 or later, Apple at that time will probably be better served by a charismatic visionary, no matter how rare it may be (Apple wanted money to find him / her) than by another, let alone us realize it, boring operation guy / crazy content with building on Jobs-inspired core products. If Cook left this afternoon, we have no doubt that Jeff Williams would be a great replacement for the next half decade or longer.
Either way, Apple is smart to work with a legacy plan.
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. – Benjamin Franklin