Tim Cook Brings Small Changes to Apple

One of Tim Cook’s first actions as the newly ordained CEO of Apple Inc. was to tell his employees that the company they worked for wasn’t going to change. The Wall Street Journal reported, however, that Mr. Cook has been making his mark on the company, including some structural and procedural changes in the way the company does business.

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Mr. Cook was named CEO on August 24th when the ailing Steve Jobs stepped down from the position—Mr. Jobs passed away on October 5th. On August 25th, the day after he assumed the helm of Apple, Mr. Cook wrote a letter to the company’s employees that said, in part:

I want you to be confident that Apple is not going to change. I cherish and celebrate Apple’s unique principles and values. Steve built a company and culture that is unlike any other in the world and we are going to stay true to that—it is in our DNA. We are going to continue to make the best products in the world that delight our customers and make our employees incredibly proud of what they do.

One of Mr. Cook’s challenges was (and is) to preserve the culture of innovation that Mr. Jobs had developed at Apple, a task made substantially more complex in that Steve Jobs himself was a central part of that change.

As has been made clear by Walter Isaacson’s biography, Steve Jobs, Mr. Jobs made many and more decisions according to his gut, as the saying goes, so whether or not Mr. Cook wants to change Apple, rule by an operations expert (Mr. Cook) will not be the same as rule by a product visionary (Mr. Jobs). One way or another, that will result in some changes in the way decisions get made at the company.

For instance, The Journal said that Apple’s education division has been broken into two segments, sales and marketing, and each of those segments was then folded into their respective company-wide divisions. That has the practical effect of increasing the responsibilities of Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller and John Brandon, a less well-known vice president who manages many of Apple’s sales channels.

On September 1st, Mr. Cook promoted Eddy Cue to Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services, elevating his profile in the process. One week later, Mr. Cook announced a major change in Apple’s corporate philosophy by instituting an employee charitable donation matching program, something that Steve Jobs was against, according to unnamed sources cited by The Journal.

Other changes that could be in the works include more communication between Mr. Cook and shareholders, as well as possible plans for Apple’s massive cash hoard of more than US$80 billion.