Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

Apple boss Tim Cook hints at who might succeed him

Apple CEO Tim Cook on what it takes to run the world's largest company | Dua Lipa: At Your Service

Estimated by Bloomberg to be worth more than $1 billion, Apple CEO Tim Cook could retire any time he likes.

But at 63, the tech chief appears to be as enthusiastic about running the show as the day when he took the top job 12 years ago.

“I love it there,” Cook said in a recent interview with singer-songwriter Dua Lipa for BBC Sounds. “I can’t envision my life without being there, and so I’ll be there for a while.”

Still, the CEO is wise enough to know that life is full of surprises — not all of them pleasant — so he’s worked with his team to create a succession plan to cover all eventualities.

“We’re a company that believes in working on succession plans, so we have very detailed succession plans,” Cook said. “Because something that’s unpredictable can always happen, I can step off the wrong curb tomorrow — I pray that doesn’t happen.” He might also be praying for continued backing from the board and shareholders, but he didn’t say.

While Apple’s boss declined to reveal the names of anyone who might one day replace him, he did say that it’s likely to be someone who’s already working at the tech giant. Cook himself was at Apple for 13 years before taking over as CEO after Steve Jobs stepped down from the role shortly before his death.

“My job is to prepare several people for the ability to succeed, and I really want the person to come from within Apple,” Cook said. “ So that’s my role — that there’s several for the board to pick from.”

The comment suggests that the current candidates are likely to be among those featured on Apple’s “leadership” webpage, which includes recognizable faces such as Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of services, and Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering. The current vice president of worldwide sales — the role Cook had before becoming CEO — is Mike Fenger, who joined the company in 2008.

Apple has reached a valuation of around $3 trillion under Cook’s stewardship, and a smooth transition to new leadership, whenever it happens, will give the firm the best chance of retaining its position as one of the most powerful tech companies in the world. But if the current Apple chief has his way, changes at the top won’t be happening for a long while yet.

Tim Cook’s 45-minute interview covers a wide range of topics and you can watch it on the player embedded at the top of this page.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Microsoft might be building its own version of the Apple M1 chip for Surface
The interior of the Surface Laptop Studio.

Microsoft could be taking a cue from Apple. A recent job listing (via HotHardware) for Microsoft's Surface division calls for a system-on-a-chip (SoC) architect, suggesting that Microsoft might be interested in developing its own M1 competitor for future Surface devices.

A job listing doesn't confirm anything -- it only vaguely hints at what Microsoft could be doing, so it shouldn't be assumed that Microsoft is building an M1 competitor. It makes sense, though, especially considering Apple is expected to launch its M1X chip next week, bolstering its advantage against the Intel competition.

Read more
An Apple iPad shortage hints at a new iPad refresh
iPhone 11 Pro and iPad 2020

If you're looking for an 8th-generation iPad, you may want to hold off. Apple is currently low on stock, with shoppers in the U.S., the U.K., and other Apple Store regions experiencing weeklong shipping delays and few options for pickup at stores.

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman notes that Apple employees are requested "not to speculate" why these delays are happening, but the potential launch of the 9th-generation iPad at the upcoming "California Streaming" event is a likely factor.

Read more
Elon Musk says Tim Cook refused meeting about buying Tesla
Elon Musk.

Elon Musk has claimed that he once tried to meet with Apple CEO Tim Cook about the possibility of the tech giant acquiring Tesla -- but that Cook “refused to take the meeting.”

Tesla boss Musk tweeted the comment on Tuesday, December 22 -- the same day that a Reuters reports claimed Apple is renewing its efforts to have an electric vehicle on the market by 2024.

Read more