updated 10:00 am EDT, Wed June 24, 2009
Cook as important as Jobs?
Apple's chief operating officer, Tim Cook, may now be as important to the company as CEO Steve Jobs, Gene Munster tells the Wall Street Journal. The Piper Jaffray analyst explains that Cook did so well taking over the reins during Jobs' medical leave, it may mean the company would suffer more if he left than if Jobs did. "At this point, losing Tim Cook would be a bigger deal to investors than if Steve Jobs stepped aside. Just that thought makes my stomach tighten up," says Munster.
While having slid in recent days, Apple stock is noted to have risen 60 percent during the period of Cook's control; by comparison, the NASDAQ composite index rose only 18 percent. The executive has also been in high demand as a rule, with Motorola attempting to hire him in 2008, and Dell making an offer in 2007. "Now it's clear that Tim Cook can run any technology-based company," says Stephen Mader, co-head of the CEO practice at recruiting firm Korn/Ferry International. "He's a more attractive CEO candidate both inside Apple and outside."
Cook is noted to have been instrumental in pulling the company away from bankruptcy in 1998, despite the credit typically going to Jobs. The COO has also had experience running Apple solo in the past, as Jobs was absent for a time in 2004, following surgery for pancreatic cancer. Some have suggested that Jobs' recent liver transplant may be connected to a recurrence of the cancer.