Cook joined Apple in 1998 from Compaq, where Apple says he was “responsible for procuring and managing all of [its] product inventory”. Compaq was then the world’s largest PC manufacturer, while Apple was struggling to make an impact with its Macintosh computers.
After being promoted to the role of COO at Apple in 2007, notorious “workaholic” Cook was credited with making Apple a more efficient, streamlined machine, by closing international factories to reduce inventory levels and ultimately increasing profit margins.
Cook has already served as an interim CEO at Apple, filling in for Jobs for two months in 2004 when he had surgery for pancreatic cancer and again in 2009 when Jobs took leave for a liver transplant.
Since January, Cook has been responsible for Apple’s “day to day” operations, after Steve Jobs confirmed he was to take a long-term medical leave of absence. Jobs still made the major strategic decisions for the company during his break and fronted this year’s major product launch, the iPad 2.
As the now permanent CEO of Apple, Cook will no doubt draw experience from the 12 years he served at IBM, which he joined after graduating from Auburn University in Alabama.
Despite Cook’s experience, shares fell 7% in after hours trading following the announcement about Steve Jobs’ resignation, suggesting investors’ nervousness at the changeover in responsibility for the company.
Cook will be assisted by an able executive team, which includes: head of product marketing, Philip Schiller; senior vice president of industrial design, Jonathan Ive; iOS chief, Scott Forstall; head of Mac hardware engineering, Bob Mansfield; and chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer.
Apple’s current tasks include trying to make headway in China and the consumer launch of iCloud. Some shareholders have said the latter product could add as much as $100bn (£61bn) to Apple’s market value.