Apple CEO Tim Cook Finds Someone Like Him To Fill Deputy Role

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple CEO Tim Cook Finds Someone Like Him To Fill Deputy Role.

Apple Inc promoted longtime executive Jeff Williams to the role of chief operating officer, reinstating the title previously held by Chief Executive Tim Cook, as part of a series of changes to the company’s leadership team. One of the first phone calls Tim Cook made when he joined Apple Inc. in 1998 was to Jeff Williams, a colleague he worked with for more than a decade at International Business Machines Corp.

Williams, who joined Apple in 1998, previously served as senior vice president of operations and oversaw development of the Apple Watch, the company’s first new product since the iPad. Cook had recently joined Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ effort to turn around the then-struggling company and invited Williams out to California for an interview. “I stopped by here out of courtesy to him but I had no interest in joining Apple,” Williams, 52, said in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek last year. “Apple had just lost $1 billion.” The shared career path is continuing now after Cook tapped Williams to be Apple’s first chief operations officer since 2011, when Cook relinquished the title to succeed Jobs as CEO. In charge of the iPhone maker’s supply chain, and service and support operations, he also looked after the company’s social responsibility initiatives. “Jeff is hands-down the best operations executive I’ve ever worked with,” Cook said in a statement.

In addition, Apple says it’s expanding VP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller’s duties to now include running the App Store across all Apple platforms. Williams, not well known outside of Apple circles, has been one of Cook’s most trusted deputies, managing the company’s vast supply chain that involves hundreds of thousands of people, but also leading efforts such as the development of Apple Watch, vetting acquisitions and dealing with partners such as Foxconn. He is often referred to as “Tim Cook’s Tim Cook,” a nod to the important operations role that the Apple chief played for former CEO Steve Jobs before his death. There are a number of executives who could be considered for that position when the time came, they said. “We are fortunate to have incredible depth and breadth of talent across Apple’s executive team. In any case, Cook does not appear to be eyeing the exits, said former Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassée, who saw the leadership changes as a way to keep executives on their toes. “I don’t see Tim Cook relinquishing the reins in any way,” he said. “I see him strengthening his hand.” Apple also said on Thursday it would expand the responsibilities of global marketing chief Phil Schiller to include leading the Apple App Store.

Apple made three other personnel announcements Thursday, adjusting an executive team that has remained fairly stable since 2012, when Scott Forstall and John Browett, who oversaw mobile software and retail respectively, were ousted. Apple says that, in his new position, Schiller will focus on expanding Apple’s ecosystem across devices, including iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV. Cue leads the charge for Apple as it tries to strike partnerships in Hollywood and elsewhere, which will be critical as the company tries to expand television offerings, Bajarin said.

The release in 2014 of bigger-screen iPhones sparked massive sales growth, but analysts forecast that iPhone sales may fall in the fiscal year ending in September, which would be the first decline since the product was introduced in 2007. Apple’s App Store platform grew significantly this past year, with the launch of an App Store for its new wearable, Apple Watch as well as the introduction of an App Store for its new Apple TV hardware. Both, however, have not yet seen the same impact in terms of breakout hits or developer traction as the original App Store did, though it’s still early days. Apple has been investing heavily in semiconductors and unlike many other handset makers, it designs its own chips instead of buying whatever the latest product is from outside suppliers. Srouji also oversees technologies such as batteries, application processors, sensors and other internal components that are critical to the iPhone and iPad.

A report this week from Raymond James, for instance, citing weaker guidance from Apple’s supply chain suppliers, said that it’s possible there will be fewer iPhone upgrades in “the coming 3 and 12 months than a year ago.” That means it may be time for Apple to shake things up, and this is certainly an interesting start at doing just that. As Apple’s product lineup expands, Williams’ ascent will allow Cook to focus more on big-picture decisions, said Tim Bajarin, an analyst who has been following Apple since the 1980s. Williams is known as a serious and understated executive who, according to a New Yorker article earlier this year drove a Toyota Camry until recently, even though he was awarded $66 million in restricted stock in fiscal 2012 and another $20 million in fiscal 2014. They worked through challenges related to calibrating the heart sensor, getting the software design just right and what to do with all the data that was being collected.

Williams is responsible for ensuring that Apple can deliver mass quantities of products during peak periods of demand, while keeping inventory and costs to a minimum. This was a role filled by Apple’s services head Eddy Cue, whose responsibilities have expanded in recent years with Apple’s move into streaming music, mobile payments and, possibly, a streaming video service. He created well-known campaigns such as eTrade’s talking baby and Oprah Winfrey’s car giveaway in 2004, in which the talk show host gave 300 Pontiac cars to every member of her audience.

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