Those who are familiar with Tim Cook likely know him as the chief executive officer of Apple, Inc., which is a position that he has held for over a decade. Prior to taking over as CEO of one of the world’s largest tech companies, Cook began by serving under Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple. Still, who is Tim Cook, and how did he reach the position that he’s in today?
Early Life and Education
Timothy Donald Cook, commonly known as Tim Cook, was born on November 1st, 1960. Cook is from Mobile, Alabama, although he actually grew up in Robertsdale, a nearby town. He came from humble beginnings, with his father being a shipyard worker and his mother working at a pharmacy. Although Cook wasn’t born into wealth, he was highly motivated and a hard worker from his childhood.
In 1978, Cook went on to graduate from Robertsdale High School. After his high school graduation, Cook went right on to attend Alabama’s Auburn University. He earned his degree in 1982, which was a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering.
Even so, that wasn’t the end of Cook’s educational journey. He later attended Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, where he graduated with his Master of Business Administration (MBA) in 1988.
After he graduated with his bachelor’s degree, Cook began working in IBM’s personal computer business. He remained at this company for around twelve years, which eventually led to him serving as the organization’s director of North American fulfillment. Cook completed his master’s program while he was working at IBM, leading to him becoming a Fuqua Scholar.
Cook would eventually leave his position at IBM, although he didn’t transition right away to work with Apple. Instead, he joined Intelligent Electronics’ computer reseller division. In this company, Cook held the position of chief operating officer.
Although it was short-lived, Cook has served as Compaq’s vice president for corporate materials. After just six months in this role, however, Cook was hired by Steve Jobs. This is what caused him to leave Compaq and join Apple, Inc.
Early Apple Career
After being asked by Steve Jobs himself, Cook joined the Apple team in 1998. He considers his choice to join Apple to be based on intuition, as well as his promising interactions with Steve Jobs. At that point in time, many of Cook’s peers were advising him to stay with Compaq, since that position was superior when it came to cost and benefits. Nevertheless, Cook decided to go with his gut and leave his position as Compaq’s vice president for corporate materials.
About his decision to leave Compaq and join Apple, Cook has said that he quickly realized how much he wanted to be a part of Apple, even if it meant going against logic and caution. He felt it to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and his intuition guided him to make the decision to join this amazing technology company.
When he first joined Apple, Cook was given the position of senior vice president for worldwide operations. While he was in this role, Cook closed the company’s warehouses and factories, replacing them instead with contract manufacturers. This turned out to be a remarkably positive change for Apple, with its inventory wait times being reduced from months to just days.
Cook demonstrated his impressive ability to keep the company’s costs under control, helping to generate enormous profits.
Later down the line, in 2007, he was promoted to lead operations for Apple. Then, in 2009 and 2011, Cook would serve as chief executive during Jobs’s health-related leaves of absence. During these periods where Jobs was on leave, Cook handled most of the company’s day-to-day operations. However, Jobs continued to be in charge of major decisions within Apple.
CEO of Apple
In August 2011, Jobs stepped down as CEO of Apple, becoming the company’s chairman of the board. It was at this point that Cook took on the role of full-time chief executive officer. Just six weeks after Cook became CEO of Apple, Inc., Steve Jobs passed away due to complications with pancreatic cancer.
Around a year after becoming CEO, Cook made significant adjustments to the company’s executive team. Over the next several years, he would also concentrate on creating a harmonious culture within Apple. He stuck to his values, as well, even if it meant challenging shareholders to cut ties with the company if they didn’t share Apple’s views on climate change and sustainability.
Cook received a payout of approximately $750 million in August 2021, having sold over five million Apple Inc. shares.
Philanthropy and Personal Life
Over the course of his career, Cook has remained dedicated to supporting charities and causes that he believes in. For instance, at the start of 2018, he made a pledge to add 20,000 new jobs and invest $350 billion in the United States economy before 2023. Part of this plan included investing $55 billion to construct a facility that runs off of renewable energy.
Shortly after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Apple donated $15 million to help support global relief efforts. Several weeks after this major donation, the company started to create face shields that they would be shipping to medical workers. Over the course of a few weeks, Apple produced millions of these protective face shields.
Cook has also shown support for various LGBTQ causes. Although he never denied his sexuality, Cook wasn’t open to the public about being gay until 2014. At this time, he came to the conclusion that by being open about his sexuality, he could inspire positive change and encourage struggling LGBTQ youth. When asked about this topic, Cook then went on to say that while his privacy was extremely important to him, he also recognized the value in what his story could do for others. It was this realization that led him to feel comfortable sharing his truth with the world. All in all, Tim Cook has had a long and remarkable career. Not just anyone could successfully follow in the footsteps of Steve Jobs, although this is a role that Cook took on with ease. And at the current time, it seems that Cook has no intentions of slowing down.