How Tim Cook’s leadership is changing Apple

24 May, 2012 - Killian Bell
Tim Cook on stage

You don’t need to know Tim Cook personally to see that he’s very different to Steve Jobs – not only as a person, but also as a CEO. And so it’s no surprise that Apple is evolving a little differently with Cook at the helm. Having been in his role for nine months now, Fortune has drawn up a lengthy profile on Apple’s new leader and how the Cupertino camp is changing under his direction.

While Cook is maintaining that corporate culture that makes Apple so unique, he’s also making changes that his predecessor wasn’t willing to make. As Fortune puts it, it’s as if Cook is working his way through a to-do list of “long-overdue repairs”:

A 14-year veteran of the company, Cook is maintaining, by words and actions, most of Apple’s unique corporate culture. But shifts of behavior and tone are absolutely apparent; some of them affect the core of Apple’s critical product-development process. In general, Apple has become slightly more open and considerably more corporate. In some cases Cook is taking action that Apple sorely needed and employees badly wanted. It’s almost as if he is working his way through a to-do list of long-overdue repairs the previous occupant (Jobs) refused to address for no reason other than obstinacy.

Cook continues to push Apple’s streamlined manufacturing process and build upon the improvements he made as the company’s Chief Operational Officer. However, some believe that this efficiency is now taking priority, and that the company is becoming more traditional and conservative, driven by project management rather than design and engineering:

“It looks like it has become a more conservative execution engine rather than a pushing-the-envelope engineering engine,” says Max Paley, a former engineering vice president who worked at Apple for 14 years until late 2011. “I’ve been told that any meeting of significance is now always populated by project management and global-supply management,” he says. “When I was there, engineering decided what we wanted, and it was the job of product management and supply management to go get it. It shows a shift in priority.”

Fortune’s full profile is a very interesting read, especially if you’re interested in Apple and, in particular, the way in which the company is changing now that its co-founder is no longer in charge. It also looks at the subtle differences between the two leaders, such as Cook’s willingness to listen to employee feedback, and even sit down to eat with them in the company canteen.

[Via MacRumors]

About the author

Killian Bell is a freelance journalist based in Worcestershire UK. In addition to writing about all things Apple, he's one of the co-founders of the football site TitleTalk. You can follow him on and Twitter.