Cook's public profile as an Apple senior executive has continued to rise in recent years--likely by some combination of coincidence and design. Few top-level executives at Apple emerge from Jobs's shadow, but Cook has done so repeatedly in the past year. It was Cook (along with senior vice president of Mac hardware Bob Mansfield) who joined Jobs on stage during the July 2010 press conference on iPhone 4 antenna issues, Cook who kicked off October's Back to the Mac event, and Cook who delivered the news in January that the iPhone 4 would come to Verizon. Add these to Cook's regular appearances on quarterly earnings calls with Wall Street analysts, and you get an executive who's clearly playing an increasing role in Apple's public relations efforts.
More recently, Cook spoke publicly about Android, iPad 2, and Japan, and again in July after Apple's latest record financial earnings report.
Cook's drive for excellence at Apple is perhaps no better reflected than in this choice tidbit from a profile on him in Fortune headlined "The genius behind Steve."
...[Cook] convened a meeting with his team, and the discussion turned to a particular problem in Asia. "This is really bad," Cook told the group. "Someone should be in China driving this." Thirty minutes into that meeting Cook looked at Sabih Khan, a key operations executive, and abruptly asked, without a trace of emotion, "Why are you still here?"
Khan, who remains one of Cook's top lieutenants to this day, immediately stood up, drove to San Francisco International Airport, and, without a change of clothes, booked a flight to China with no return date, according to people familiar with the episode. The story is vintage Cook: demanding and unemotional.
This story includes updated reporting from an earlier Macworld profile of Tim Cook.