From Student To CEO: The Rise Of Apples Tim Cook

Tim Cook started from the bottom to pave his way into becoming the CEO of the world’s first multi-trillion-dollar enterprise, Apple.

Steve Jobs’ time as Apple’s CEO sparked change in the trajectory within the modern era of technology. The company broke new ground by granting its consumers easily accessible communication along with a vast sea of applications and information, all at their fingertips reached. When the revolutionary tech mogul passed away in 2011, someone had taken his place.

Many were skeptical when Tim Cook first took over control of the world’s biggest phone manufacturer. However, it didn’t take long for them to realize that Apple couldn’t have been in better hands!

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Humble Beginnings

Apple’s soon-to-be spearhead was born last the middle child of three on November 1, 1969, in Mobile, Alabama. Spending his adolescence in the small nearby town of Robertsdale, Cook was undoubtedly a bright kid. After graduating second in a high school class in 1978, the young intellect pushed a degree in industrial engineering at Auburn University.

Upon earning his degree in 1982, Cook set out to began his career in the newfound technology age by joining the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM). Working in the company’s fresh PC division, Cook was on the ground floor of some of the initial advancements of the technology we use today.

In the midst of his time at IBM, Cook juggled work and study as he pursued a Masters of Business Administration at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

His diligent work throughout his decade at the company earned him the position of director for its North American fulfillment in 1988 – the same year he obtained his Master’s degree. In this role, he oversaw the manufacturing and distribution procedures of the North and Latin American wings of IBM’s Personal Computer company.

When he parted ways with IBM in 1994, he joined Intelligent Electronics as their chief operating officer. He stayed in the company until 1997 when he became Compaq’s president of corporate materials. This was a huge moment in Cook’s career for two reasons. One was the fact that, at the time, Compaq was the clear leader in the country’s PC manufacturing business. It only took six months in his position as president for him to get noticed by none other than Steve Jobs.

Entering Apple

Cook’s innovative business prowess impressed Jobs so much; he offered Cook an interview for a position at Apple.

“I remember when Steve was interviewing Tim because he was coming back and telling us amazing things about operations that he was clearly learning from his interviews with Tim,” Apple’s vice president of product marketing tells in Cook’s biography, Tim Cook: The Genius Who Took Apple to the Next Level, “he was having literally an impact on us and some of the operational thinking that happened before he was hired.”

Believe it or not, Cook was actually on the fence about joining the now prolific electronic giant. His colleagues at Compaq all advised him not to take up the offer and stay put, as the company’s reputation at the time was far from what we know of it today.

“My intuition already knew that joining Apple was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work for the creative genius,” Cook said in a 2010 commencement speech at Auburn University, “and to be on the executive team that could resurrect a great American company.”

He was soon brought Cook to Apple as the company’s senior vice president of worldwide operations. His first major contribution to Apple’s journey towards worldwide success was throwing warehouses and factories to the wayside and replacing them with contracted manufacturers. This success resulted in inventory turnover rates scaling back from months to days and getting products into customers’ hands much quicker.

Come 2000; Cook added the position of Apple’s senior vice president of sales and support to his resume. Just two years later, he was promoted yet again, this time to executive vice president of worldwide operations and sales.

As early as 2005, Cook’s investment firm was putting money into companies that specialize in flash memory. These components were the framework needed for Apple to create such beloved products as the iPad and iPod Nano. In light of Jobs depleting health, Cook took on the role of interim CEO twice during his time at Apple: once in 2004 and another time in 2009.

August 24, 2011months before he passed away, Jobs resigned from his CEO position in 2011 and left the helm of the billion-dollar mega-company in Cook’s hands.

Cook’s Plans For The Future

Critics weren’t all that sure what the future of Apple would hold in the hands of its new CEO. While some Silicon Valley big wigs were quite skeptical that Cook could keep the company’s momentum going, they’re were proven severely wrong. Not only did Cook keep the company afloat all these years, but he also doubled the company’s revenue.

The Wall Street Journal stated Apple’s 2020 valuation at $1.9 trillion – a record high for the company. From the Apple Watch to Airport, Apple continued to remain as the world’s most acclaimed tech manufacturer under Cook’s direction. Determined to stay with the times, the company ventured into subscription-based platforms that brought in millions like Apple+.

Recently, Cook celebrated his ten years as Apple’s CEO by getting a $355 million bonus from the company’s shares. Apple saw a record-breaking year at Wall Street this year, seeing an increase of almost 192% in shareholders returns.

Cook made history in 2014 when he made the bold choice of coming out as gay in a Bloomberg editorial after receiving an influx of letters from queer youth struggling with their identity. “I wanted to tell everyone my truth. Many people already know. For many people, it was no revelation,” the CEO told Stephen Colbert in an interview on The Late Show, “It’s like discovering something on your iPhone it’s always done but you didn’t quite know it.”

Coupled with his spearheading ventures at Apple, Cook is also an avid philanthropist and activist. In several instances, the tycoon bandies out billions to charity organizations. Cook, who reached billionaire status last year, is a strong advocate for human rights and HIV/AIDS awareness.

READ NEXT: How Steve Jobs Made Millions & Built An Empire

Sources: Buisness Insider, Britannica, Wall Street Journal, TIME Magazine

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