Tim Cook leaving? Who to succeed him?

Tim Cook leaving? Who to succeed him?
Tim Cook leaving? Who to succeed him?

Tim Cook, Steve Jobs’ successor, consolidated the central place of the iPhone in Apple’s business, but he also oversaw the development and launch of the Apple Watch, HomePod and AirPods. He also pushed the company towards services such as streaming content (music, videos) or even… fitness. Under his leadership, the company also ventured into mixed reality, an attempt to democratize “spatial computing.”

The uncertain succession of Tim Cook

At 63, Tim Cook has, however, exceeded the average age of Fortune 500 CEOs. The question of his succession is becoming increasingly important. His role is also to plan what comes next, but that is not easy due to the absence of immediately ready candidates. However, a few names stand out.

Internal sources indicate that if Tim Cook were to step down soon, Chief Operating Officer (COO) Jeff Williams would be the most likely candidate to replace him. He has been seen as the natural successor since he was named COO in 2015, a position Cook himself held under Steve Jobs. However, at 61 years old, it is unlikely that Williams will remain CEO of Apple for the long term, a crucial criterion for the board of directors.

Among other potential candidates, the name of John Ternus, head of hardware engineering, comes up often. At under 50, he represents a more durable option and could provide stability comparable to that of Tim Cook.

Last spring, at Apple’s Top 100 event, John Ternus took a prominent place by himself leading the presentation of the company’s technology roadmap. A development which suggests that he is prepared for increased responsibilities. Although he is well-liked within the company and has earned the respect of Cook and his colleagues, internal criticism suggests he still needs to become more assertive to be ready to take on the role of CEO.

Craig Federighi, Software Engineering Manager, and Deirdre O’Brien, Software Engineering Manager retail, are also mentioned as possible, although less likely, successors. The next few years are expected to bring broader upheaval to Apple’s leadership, with the anticipated departure of several company veterans.

Analysts also believe that Apple could benefit from an outside perspective to avoid becoming a stagnant company, like IBM. But is this only possible at Apple, where the corporate culture is very strong?

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