August 24, 2011, 7:42 PM — Apple's newest CEO has a tough act to follow. But in turning to chief operating officer Tim Cook to replace Steve Jobs in the wake of the latter's resignation Wednesday, Apple's board of directors has chosen a familiar face with a proven track record with the company.
Cook is no stranger to the spotlight. He's handled the day-to-day CEO duties at Apple since Jobs took a medical leave of absence in January. That marked the third time Cook has overseen the company--he was also interim CEO in 2004 as Jobs underwent treatment for pancreatic cancer and again for the first half of 2009 as Jobs dealt with more health issues.
And now he's the official CEO, for two reasons: His resume, and his track record.
Jobs's resignation letter refers to an already-in-place succession plan, which was rumored to exist back in July.
Wired once described Tim Cook as "[a] quiet, soft-spoken, low-key executive," and "the yin to Jobs's yang." He's 50-years-old, holds a degree in industrial engineering from Auburn University, and an MBA from Duke University.
Cook left Compaq in 1998 to join Apple as its senior vice president of operations, and steadily rose through the ranks until he was awarded his current title of chief operating officer in 2005. He's credited with reinventing Apple's approach to inventory supply chains, keeping in-demand products in stock, and managing the carefully-timed release of new ones. Prior to Compaq, he worked at IBM and Intelligent Electronics.
During Jobs's six-month leave in 2009, Apple's stock under Cook's leadership rose 67%, according to CNN. In fact, Apple's board of directors--in a move nominated by Steve Jobs himself--rewarded Cook with a $22 million bonus for his work in Jobs's absence; that works out to about $3.6 million each month he filled in for his boss. (With those bonuses, Cook's total compensation neared $60 million for 2010.)