Who is Tim Cook?

A Biography of Apple CEO Tim Cook, the Man Who Replaced Steve Jobs

Tim Cook was named CEO of Apple, Inc. on August 24, 2011, succeeding Steve Jobs in that role after the co-founder of Apple passed away on October 5th, 2011. Largely credited with having built up and optimized Apple's supply chain, Cook acted as CEO when Steve Jobs took medical leave in early 2011.

Timothy D. Cook was born on November 1, 1960. He attended Auburn University, earning a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering. He continued his education at Duke University, earning a master's degree in business administration. He was hired by Apple in March of 1998, serving as the senior vice president of worldwide operations.

Cook was hired to optimize Apple's supply chain, which suffered from poor manufacturing and distribution channels. His ability to optimize the supply chain allowed Apple to put out products with competitive prices. This was demonstrated best with the release of the iPad, which debuted with a $499 entry price. This ability to sell the device for such a low cost point and still make a profit helped keep the competition in the tablet market at bay for the first year, with competing manufacturers struggling to match both the technology and the price.

Tim Cook holding an iPhone at a keynote
Lifewire / Jamie Knoth

On Becoming CEO...

Cook took over day-to-day operations of Apple in January of 2011, with Steve Jobs taking a medical leave. After Steve Jobs succumbed to pancreatic cancer, Cook was officially named CEO of Apple, Inc.

In addition to producing new versions of the iPhone, iPad, iPod and Mac, Tim Cook has managed several major events since taking over the position of CEO. Apple declared a cash dividend of $2.65 per share, investing $100 million in an effort to start building some Macs in the U.S. Cook also re-structured the senior staff, including the exit of Scott Forstall, who was the senior vice president of the iOS platform that powers the iPad and iPhone. 

Cook also managed the company through its roughest waters in over a decade. A break-up with Google led to Apple replacing Google Maps with Apple's own map application, which was considered a major misstep by the company. The Apple Maps app was riddled with bad data creating some confusion in using the maps application and forcing Tim Cook to apologize for the problems. Slowing iPad sales caused Apple to miss industry forecasts, and after reaching all-time highs, Apple's stock price took a plunge starting in late 2012 and bottoming out in mid-2013. The stock has since rebounded.

Tim Cook in an Apple Store with Apple employees
The Apple Watch has been an amazing success for Apple. Apple, Inc.

In his time as CEO, Cook has expanded both the iPhone and iPad lineup. The iPhone now features a regular-sized model and an "iPhone Plus" model, which expands the size of the display to 5.5 inches measured diagonally. The iPad lineup has introduced a 7.9-inch iPad "Mini" and an 12.9-inch iPad "Pro". But Cook's biggest reveal was the Apple Watch, a smartwatch that had been rumored to be in development for several years.

The Apple Watch was met with mixed reactions from the media, but while it doesn't get quite the same press as the iPhone, the Apple Watch has quietly become the bestselling smartwatch, accounting for over half of all smartwatch sales globally in 2017.

On August 2, 2018, Apple became the first trillion dollar company in the world.

On Coming Out...

Amid the ongoing fight for same-sex marriage and equal rights in the workplace, Tim Cook came out as gay on October 30th, 2014 in an editorial published in Bloomberg. While it was widely known in tech circles, Tim Cook's decision made him one of the most high-profile gay men in the world.  

Was this page helpful?