In August 2011, Tim Cook took the job as CEO of Apple, leaving many wondering if he could fill the shoes left by his friend and mentor, Steve Jobs.
Today, Apple hit a huge milestone, becoming the first $1 trillion company in the United States, ever. That leaves Cook looking pretty good.
But when he was first announced for the role, he was a big question mark. He had come out of seemingly nowhere to lead such a big, important company. What a lot of people don’t know is that Apple would never have gotten where it is without Cook’s help early on in Jobs’ reign.
Here’s how Tim Cook rose through the ranks and became Apple’s CEO.
So Jobs approached Cook, identifying him as a strong prospect for his new Apple. Cook signed on to Apple in an initial role as the SVP of worldwide operations.
Cook would later describe their meeting:
Any purely rational consideration of cost and benefits lined up in Compaq’s favor, and the people who knew me best advised me to stay at Compaq … On that day in early 1998 I listened to my intuition, not the left side of my brain or for that matter even the people who knew me best … no more than five minutes into my initial interview with Steve, I wanted to throw caution and logic to the wind and join Apple. My intuition already knew that joining Apple was a once in a lifetime opportunity to work for the creative genius, and to be on the executive team that could resurrect a great American company.
Cook had some big shoes to fill. The iPhone, especially, is an internationally beloved product, and Jobs is held up as one of the greatest CEOs in history. There was a lot of uncertainty over whether or not Apple could keep the momentum going under Cook.
Getty Images/Kevork Djansezian