Apple's next CEO: who could succeed Tim Cook?

Apple CEO Tim Cook and potential candidates to replace him

Apple CEO Tim Cook plans to exit Apple within the next ten years. Here are the strongest contenders to succeed him as CEO.

According to Tim Cook himself, Tim Cook's time at the helm of Apple is limited. In an interview in April 2021, Cook discussed the iPhone maker's succession plans and confirmed that he intended to leave.

“Ten more years? Probably not,” Cook said when asked about another decade in office.

That same year, in August, a report said that it was believed internally at Apple that Cook wanted to continue developing another major new product category, potentially augmented reality glasses. With the release of Apple Vision Pro, it can be argued that the headset meets this specific requirement.

A few years later, in November 2023, Cook updated rumors of his departure, saying that several succession plans were in fact being developed simultaneously. Partly because Cook “might step off the wrong sidewalk tomorrow,” the CEO joked. “I hope that doesn't happen.”

When asked who would replace him, he did not name names but suggested there were a number of possibilities. “I would say my job is to prepare a few people to be able to succeed,” he hinted.

Moreover, he admitted that he really wants “the next CEO to be someone from Apple. And so my role is to make sure that the board of directors has someone to choose from.”

Aside from Cook's comments, there is virtually no chance of knowing who exactly will take over as CEO until that fateful announcement comes out of Apple's newsroom. At least not officially.

Whoever the board decides to become the next CEO will be chosen with great care and with the expectation that he will take the company forward. At the same time, due to his size and value, he also needs to be someone who won't rock the boat for investors.

There are clear frontrunners for the biggest jobs in tech. All of these options could reassure both shareholders and consumers, and like Cook, could remain on the market for quite some time.

Safe Hands: Jeff Williams, Craig Federighi, Greg “Jos” Joswiak

The most obvious choices for the top of the list are those at the top of the company, especially those who play a major role in managing Apple's Future Course .

In his role as chief operating officer, Jeff Williams takes over a key position previously held by Cook himself before he succeeded Steve Jobs. It would be entirely plausible that such a management move could occur, especially given that this role is so important to Apple's overall operation.

Apple CEO Jeff Williams

Of the group, Williams didn't spend much time at Apple: he joined Apple in 1998 and played a key role in the creation of the first iPhone, as well as the Apple Watch.

Williams' age plays against him. If Cook leaves ten years after his announcement, he will be 70 years old and Williams 68, making it unlikely that the chief operating officer will spend a long time in a leadership role.

Another top candidate could be Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering. He helped push Apple software forward, with a history going back to NeXT.

Craig Federighi, Senior Vice President of Software Engineering

Federighi is also one of the prominent personalities at Apple, and his appearance at Apple events at times becomes meme-worthy. Following the outspoken Jobs and the calm Cook, the board could easily choose someone who is ready to put on a show.

SVP software also benefits from age. Ten years after Cook's departure, Federighi will be 61, which could be a welcome revelation for a leader.

There's also Greg “Joz” Jozwiak. The senior vice president of worldwide marketing joined Apple in 1986, helped launch the original iPod, helped create the original iPhone and has appeared at Apple keynotes numerous times.

Greg “Jos” Jozwiak, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing

His 30 years of experience in Apple's marketing department will also be a big bonus for the company , therefore known due to advertising. However, his age of 66 at the time of Cook's departure puts him in the middle ground when considering his potential tenure.

All three of the above could easily fill the CEO role, with personalities and experience that would be acceptable to both investors and employees.

Visible and possible : Eddie Cue and Phil Schiller

Of course, there are many more candidates for CEO than three, with Eddie Cue and Phil Schiller capable of doing the same thing. Both have been with the company in senior positions since the days of Steve Jobs, but the top three may be ahead of them.

Eddie Q, Senior Vice President, Internet Software and Services

In the case of Q, Senior Vice President, Internet Software and Services services, he holds everything in his hands Apple's services business. This high-level growth center of the company has become one of the most important sources of income and continues to grow.

As an employee since 1989, Kew has a rich history under his belt, but with Cook's potential age of 66 at the time of his ten-year departure, he will sooner or later become the top choice.

Schiller has a similarly long history at Apple, with three decades of product and marketing experience at the company. As the man in charge of the App Store and Apple Events, he is also involved in very key elements of the Apple empire.

Phil Schiller, Apple Fellow

Schiller's advantage is that he is not a senior vice president: he is a member of Apple, which means that his role is limited in the company. This could benefit Shiller because it means he can more easily take on the CEO role without upsetting other executives.

Age is a factor, however, and since it is the same as Cook's, it would mean Schiller could be 70 years old by the time Cook leaves, making his taking on the CEO role a bit harder to justify.

Tier Three: Deirdre O'Brien, Johnny Srouji, Lisa Jackson and John Ternus

All four of these names are major players at the top of the C-suite, making them still viable options for the board of directors, but not necessarily the ones most likely to choose the CEO position.

Deirdre O'Brien is Senior Vice President of Retail. She renovates and opens new stores around the world and manages Apple's online teams. Customer management is definitely a big part of why Apple users love the company.

Apple Senior Vice President Deirdre O'Brien

She has also worked at Apple for over 30 years and has worked on every Apple product launch since joining. . Her experience as an HR executive will also be an advantage when working with an army of employees.

Johnny Srouji is Apple's Senior Vice President of Hardware Technologies. He played a key role in building chip and technology development teams. His team's work helped make Apple products faster, smaller and more energy efficient, and the A-Series chips and Apple Silicon revolutionary.

Johnny Srouji, Senior Vice President of Hardware Technologies

He joined the company in 2008 to help make Apple chips, which is not that and long compared to others. but the impact of his work on the company certainly speaks in his favor.

Lisa Jackson is vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, which doesn't exactly suit the job of CEO of the largest technology company in the world. Joining Apple in 2013 also seems short compared to others, perhaps even too short.

Lisa Jackson, Senior Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives

However, before joining Apple, she worked as an administrator for the US Environmental Protection Agency, which gives her management experience that others cannot match. She also often appears at Apple presentations, which makes her visible to the public.

Finally, John Ternus is Apple's Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering. He was promoted to this position in 2021 after previously serving as vice president of hardware engineering since 2013. He has been part of Apple's product development team since 2021 and has worked on every generation and model of iPad. as well as iPhone and AirPods.

John Ternus, Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering

Ternus benefits from being the de facto face of the Apple Silicon transition, as well as his age. Based on his 1997 graduation from the University of Pennsylvania, Ternus is likely around 40 years old, making him one of the youngest candidates who also has significant experience within the company.

Invisibles: other Apple executives

In many companies, appointing a new CEO from a list of existing senior ones VPs, VPs, and C-suite executives would be fairly painless. Everyone at these levels will prove that they are capable of fulfilling their role in their work without making much effort to change their metaphorical place.

One of the problems with other members of Apple's leadership is that they are not visible enough to be seriously considered for a job at the world's largest company. Apple, as a well-known company where keynotes and product launches are global news, will need a new CEO, who should ideally be from a well-known organization that can easily become a figurehead.

Apple CFO Luca Maestri (right) is best known for Apple's quarterly reports.

The other real problem is that they may occupy positions where they appear to be. It is unlikely that this move will be so beneficial for the company. For example, it's hard to imagine Luca Maestri going from Apple's financial muscle to its biggest cheerleader, since he's so entrenched in its accounting.

Same thing with John Giannandrea. His role as senior vice president of machine learning and artificial intelligence strategy, as well as his extensive experience in the field, may be better suited to further Apple's goals in artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The same goes for Katherine Adams, who serves as senior vice president of legal and global security. Although Adams is high up the corporate chain and plays an important role in intellectual property maintenance, litigation and corporate governance, she may be viewed as more successful in her current role.

Sometimes a candidate can be eliminated because he would be better off serving the needs of the company where he is than in the CEO's chair.

Sometimes they can be excluded because they are already running out.

On March 3, a report said that Dan Riccio, former senior vice president of hardware engineering, was “nearing retirement” after more than 25 years at Apple.

Ricchio gave up his role as senior vice president to work on a “special project” in 2021, which turned out to be the Apple Vision Pro. Now that the headset has been released, Riccio is looking to retire.

He has a really extensive background at Apple, including work on Touch ID, Face ID, iPad, and also a desire to develop chips in-house. But his impending retirement casts doubt on Riccio's candidacy for leadership.

The Unbelievable: Former Employees and External Candidates

It is very likely that Apple will choose a person with history and has “lived” at Apple for a long time for the position of CEO. This is especially evident given Cook's hopes for the next board pick.

However, there is always the possibility that Apple will look outside the company. The six CEOs who preceded Cook included former PepsiCo CEO John Sculley, who helped grow the company with his marketing skills, and former National Semiconductor CEO Gil Amelio, who served on Apple's board for two years before taking the position.

Apple could convince another CEO or senior executive with the right skills to take a position that would shake up the company. But again, Apple's board and investors won't necessarily want to rock the boat too much.

There is also the possibility of considering former Apple executives as potential candidates.

Angela Ahrendts, who was previously senior vice president of retail, does have experience leading an industry giant: she previously headed Burberry for eight years. But at the same time, she is the same age as Cook, which leads to tenure issues.

Former Apple design chief Jony Ive has a chance to become CEO.

There is Jony Ive, the famous designer who is synonymous with Apple. However, the circumstances of his departure from the company and the freedom to run his own design firm, LoveFrom, make a return to Apple questionable.

Apple's board of directors may find it difficult to bring in someone from the outside to run the company. Perhaps not possible.

But then again, with so many worthy internal candidates, it can be just as difficult to choose the best one for the position.

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