Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook and his top deputies are focusing greater attention on developing a new generation of leaders to eventually run some of the iPhone maker’s most important divisions such as hardware development, services and marketing.
As Cook begins his 10th year at the helm, his management group is filled mostly with senior vice presidents who have worked at Apple for more than two decades, made tens of millions of dollars and are at or near the ages of 55 to 60 when many previous executives have stepped aside. That, along with typical corporate planning, has spurred the Cupertino, California-based company to cultivate its next class of top managers, said people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified talking about internal company discussions. Apple declined to comment.
Cook, who took over from Steve Jobs in August 2011, has led Apple to become the world’s most valuable company and the first in the U.S. with a market capitalization that topped $2 trillion. Even with the company’s success, the next group of leaders will need to navigate rising global antitrust concerns, build stronger relationships with app developers, reduce the reliance on Chinese manufacturing and find devices or new services to carry the company beyond the iPhone.
The CEO has given no indication he’s ready to retire, but if the 59-year-old Cook moved on tomorrow, look no further than Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams, 57, to take over. Williams is seen as the heir apparent, having run the company’s global operations under Cook for the past several years. In 2013, he took over development of the Apple Watch and Apple’s health initiatives, and last year, added oversight of hardware and software design.
In many ways, Williams is seen as pragmatic as Cook and as someone who wouldn’t let the company miss a beat. He is an operations-focused executive like Cook rather than a product visionary like Jobs or former design chief Jony Ive. With the company’s decade of success under Cook, it’s unlikely the board would want to shift away from this proven formula.
Below, Bloomberg takes a look at possible successors to the current executives in charge of each major Apple division.
Greg Joswiak, 56, took over for Phil Schiller as Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing in August, but Schiller, 60, had been gradually handing off some responsibility for years, according to people familiar with the transition.
At Apple, the product marketing organization is broader than ads, as the group helps choose which features to add to devices and helps manage product development. Joswiak joined Apple in the 1980s, and is just about three years younger than his semi-retired predecessor. The company has a list of potential successors to Joswiak, with the “smart money” being on newly appointed vice president of iPhone marketing Kaiann Drance, 42, to eventually take over, according to a person close to the company.
Other potential contenders include Stan Ng and Susan Prescott. Ng, vice president of Apple Watch marketing, has been a mainstay in Apple’s marketing organization since the late 1990s, starting off on the Mac, transitioning to the iPod, and then working on the …read more