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Should Tim Cook get control of Apple?

KitGuru reported yesterday that Steve Jobs has taken a leave of absense, so he can deal with health issues that have been causing him concern now for many months. The big question we need to ask however is should he finally step down and hand over the company to Tim Cook?

Tim Cook is an experienced veteran within the industry. His father was a shipyard worker and he earned a B.S. degree in industrial engineering from Auburn University and an M.B.A. from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business in 1988.

Tim Cook: should he replace Jobs?

Cook was CP for Corporate Materials in Compaq before he was hired by Steve Jobs himself to join Apple. He initially served as Senior Vice President for Worldwide Operations and he was also the COO of computer reseller division Intelligent Electronics. He spent 12 years as director of North American Fulfillment within IBM’s personal computer business.

While Steve Jobs gets all the credit for Apple’s success, Cook has been publicly praised for pulling Apple out of manufacturing, by closing factories and warehouses around the world. This had a huge impact on Apple by helping them reduce inventory levels and to streamline their supply chain, increasing profit margins. By January 2007, Cook was promoted to COO. His experience also extends into other fields as he serves on the board of directors for Nike.

When Steve Jobs was out in 2004 recovering from pancreatic cancer surgery, Cook took over the reigns as Apple CEO for 2 months.

In 2009 Cook also took over as Apple CEO while Steve Jobs took absense for a liver transplant. With Steve Jobs out again for health reasons Cook will become the CEO, handling Apple’s day to day operations.

Tim Cook is also a fitness enthusiast, regularly at the gym, seen cycling and hiking. His work record and health record are faultless.

No one knows how long Steve Jobs will be out this time, Apple have been secretive on the subject, protecting his privacy and they are equally as happy giving Tim Cook the reigns again.

Analysts on Wall Street feel that Steve Jobs health is a deciding factor in the move to appoint Tim Cook as CEO and that it needs to be more permanent. Analyst Brian Marshall with Gleacher and Co said “Obviously Jobs is irreplaceable as the industry’s innovator, but he has more pressing matters today than being CEO of Apple, Cook has performed flawlessly in the past as Apple’s interim CEO and we expect he will become the full-time CEO of Apple this year, with Jobs hopefully serving as a senior advisor.”

From all accounts Steve Jobs is a very dominant character who likes to micro manage everything and even in his absense he will be involved in all major strategic decisions for the company. This puts Cook in an awkward position, is it not time that the Apple board gave him a chance to prove himself, without Jobs watching over his shoulder? If Jobs health takes a turn for the worse then they will have no option, but an early ‘test flight’ seems a wiser move for them.

Cook is well liked, his personality is warm and the employees seem to find him a positive influence on the company and their work. He is often involved in Apple’s earnings calls. He is outspoken too, which Jobs will like, especially when he saw the new tablets at CES this month. He said “they lack performance specs, they lack prices, they lack timing. And so today they are vapor. We are not sitting still, and we have a huge first-mover advantage.”

Clearly he is preparing himself for a takeover, if his recent attitude is anything to go by. On paper he looks more than able to run the company, but Steve Jobs is basically an enigma, a legendary CEO who seems bigger than a mere mortal. Time will tell, but Apple had best not leave it too late to appoint a successor.

KitGuru says: Cook or Jobs? Share your views

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