On August 24, 2011, Tim Cook assumed the CEO role at Apple. Now, about two years later, Reuters has an interesting profile up detailing Cook’s management style and the ways in which Apple has changed and stayed the same under his command.
Described as a hardworking and “even-keeled” executive, people close to Cook tell Reuters that the Apple CEO can actually be quite funny and charming in smaller group settings. Indeed, while Cook’s public persona may easily be described as stoic and serious, the Apple CEO has shown a lot more of his personality and wit in recent one-on-one interviews.
One thing that has never been in dispute is that Cook, who Jobs once described as a “cool customer”, has a completely different management style than Jobs.
In the day to day at Apple, Cook has established a methodical, no-nonsense style, one that’s as different as could be from that of his predecessor.
Jobs’ bi-monthly iPhone software meeting, in which he would go through every planned features of the company’s flagship product, is gone.
“That’s not Tim’s style at all,” said one person familiar with those meetings. “He delegates.”
Still, he has a tough side. In meetings, Cook is so calm as to be nearly unreadable, sitting silently with hands clasped in front of himself. Any change in the constant rocking of his chair is one sign subordinates look for: when he simply listens, they’re heartened if there is no change in the pace of his rocking.
“He could skewer you with a sentence,” the person said. “He would say something along the lines of ‘I don’t think that’s good enough’ and that would be the end of it and you would just want to crawl into a hole and die.”
While Cook may not be prone to unleash swear-word-laden tirades, he — like Jobs — has no problem demanding perfection and acting decisively when those standards aren’t met. For instance, recall that Cook was quick to let go of Scott Forstall in the wake of the controversy surrounding the release of Apple’s homegrown Maps app. Rumor has it that the final straw was when Forstall refused to add his name in an apology letter Cook penned to Apple’s customers.
In any event, one thing that you have to give Cook credit for is that he’s not blindly following in the footsteps of Jobs. With Cook running the show, Apple has been more transparent about its supply chain and environmental practices. Furthermore, Apple under Cook, also began issuing quarterly dividend payments, something Jobs was seemingly reluctant to do.
The full Reuters profile on Cook doesn’t add anything shocking to Apple’s current narrative, but provides some interesting insights into the mindset and management style of the typically private and low-key Cook. It’s well worth checking out.