Steve Jobs resignation as Apple’s CEO has rocked the business world. Although he is going to stay on as Chairman of the Board, everyone is having a difficult time imagining Apple without him. The reality, though, is that Tim Cook – Apple’s new CEO – has been running the day-to-day operations since the beginning of the year, when Mr. Jobs took his third medical leave. Since 2007, Cook has been interim CEO on two other occassions and during both periods Apple’s shares grew. He has been with the company for 13 years, and for half that time he’s been COO. And let’s not forget that Cook is Jobs’ hand-picked successor – and is responsible for much of Apple’s success in his own right.
Mr. Cook knows what he’s doing. He understands Apple as a brand – and as a cultural phenomenon. Steve Jobs changed everything: the way we use computers, the way we listen to and buy music, even the way we make phone calls. And Tim Cook has been by his side during all of these innovations. He solved Apple’s manufacturing problems, leading to fewer product shortages and less inventory sitting on shelves. The Wall Street Journal calls Cook “an operational genius.” He’s a logistical innovator. For a business with the size and scope of Apple, that’s just important as being a creative innovator. Cook will not be alone in this, either. Jonathan Ive, Apple’s award-winning Senior Vice-President for Industrial Design, will still be responsible for the iconic look of Apple’s products. Together, they (still) have it all.
While Apple shares are falling in the wake of this news, I predict they will rebound quickly. The market reacts emotionally, and consumers are visibly upset by the news that Jobs resigned. Not because of what this means for Apple, but for what it portends for him personally; that his cancer is probably back, that his prognosis is likely grim. In fact, the media’s current discourse sounds more like they’re reading his obituary than discussing his changing role at Apple. Jobs is a revered CEO, complete with dedicated fan sites. No one wants to lose a good friend. It’s only natural that the market would gasp at this sad news.
Fortunately, Apple’s stock losses haven’t been great. The world wants to watch Apple’s new CEO for a bit, to make sure he’s still comfortable with the reigns he’s been capably holding for months now. With a solid line of products to roll out, including the iPhone 5 debut this October, Tim Cook will prove to be an accomplished, skillful leader who will reassure both employees and customers that nothing can take a bite out of this Apple.