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.
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