Jul 24, 2015 — by: E. Werner Reschke
Categories: MacBook, Tim Cook, Apple Watch

Sir Jony IveIt seems like a lifetime ago when Steve Jobs took over Apple for the second time as iCEO. Jobs ran Apple for nearly 15 years before pancreatic cancer took his life. Tim Cook stepped into the CEO position and has run Apple for almost four years. At the time Tim Cook was a good choice. He was a safe choice. He wasn’t going to rock the boat or try to pretend to be Steve Jobs II. He would take what was a growing and great company and drive it forward, building on its success.

That was back in 2011, and times were different. Apple’s needs were different. While Cook has indeed grown Apple’s value and savings account, the question is what kind of leadership does Apple need going forward? Is safe and steady the right formula or does Apple once again need a visionary to lead it into unchartered waters?

Under Cook’s leadership Apple has yet to have a new category product that has wowed public. Apple Watch was to be that product, coupled with the niceties of Apple Pay. The jury is still out on both. While both are a well thought out product and service, neither has that wow factor like the original Mac or iPhone did. Even the first iMac had a coolness to it that properly branded Apple as the innovator of tech.

Quietly in the background sits Jonathan Ive. One has to wonder, when Tim says he’s done will Ive will be next to take over the helm of Apple? Ive is more like Jobs than Cook — especially in the visionary department. However, one wonders whether he has the expertise to lead an executive team — many whom are driven to take the top spot. Managing engineers is one skill, managing executives is quite another. Both Jobs and Cook have done a masterful job of keeping Apple’s top brass happy and the infighting to a minimum. That could be because Apple continues to win, and as all sports teams will tell you, winning cures any number of ills lurking just below the surface. However, if Apple Watch isn't a huge success, and MacBook becomes the next Cube, executives might start to grow a bit restless.

Is Tim Cook the right guy to lead Apple into the car market, or does Apple need a more dynamic pitchman at the top? While we’ve all seen Ive in videos describing the design of a new product, he has rarely been seen live, on stage, during a Keynote presentation. While other Apple executives get their turn sharing the stage with Tim, Ive seems to have stage fright. If that is the case, holding the top spot is probably not in the cards for the knighted Englishman. Apple fans want to see their CEO once or twice a year, proudly proclaiming new products and services.

As many would say, if something isn’t broken don’t fix it, and Apple is certainly not broken. Yet sometimes the best management decisions are made before the crisis and before it is obvious to everyone that a change is needed. Like a good baseball manager who knows when his pitcher is done before everyone else does, Apple’s board of directors should continue to back Cook, but also have someone warming up in the bullpen just in case.

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6 Comments

  1. justme12 ~ Jul. 24, 2015 @ 12:55 pm

    "Tim Cook stepped into the CEO position…" no - Steve Jobs - the visionary as you called him placed Cook in the position. How many companies and businesses have you created and run Reschke? Reschke it sounds more like when one can't do - write about how others clanging why can't do too. Did you ever think possibly Ive didn't want it even IF Jobs offered it? Or maybe you're not that "visionary?" Those that can't write about it it seems. #
  2. Oscar ~ Jul. 24, 2015 @ 1:51 pm

    Justme12, take a chill pill. Why the hostility towards the author??? Perhaps Ive isn't the right guy, maybe Craig Federighi might be better at the helm after Cook. Maybe Cook is good for a long time still. Sheesh, try the decaf. #
  3. Matt ~ Jul. 26, 2015 @ 11:35 am

    Question: Who designated Mr. Cook to be the next CEO? Answer: Steve Jobs. Case closed #
  4. Fred ~ Jul. 26, 2015 @ 5:27 pm

    Right, but I think the author is saying that Jobs' proclamation was in 2011. Could Jobs, on his deathbed, know what the circumstances would be like in 2015, 2018, 2028? Are we supposed to believe Jobs was godlike in his ability to see the future? I like Cook. I think he's done a great job. However, going forward we should not be afraid to ask the question, just because someone in 2011 said so. Jobs himself would scoff at such thinking. #
  5. Shameer M. ~ Jul. 27, 2015 @ 12:22 pm

    There is someone else out there who has potential to be CEO if Tim Cook turn out be "failure." Scott Forstall. #
  6. AnnoyedGrunt ~ Jul. 27, 2015 @ 12:26 pm

    I can't believe I wasted even a minute on this piece. First, Jony Ive is more likely to retire from Apple than he is to take the CEO position. Five minutes of research (including skimming the amazing profiles on Sir Jony released earlier this year) would make that obvious. They created the Chief Design Officer title to alleviate his managerial concerns and give him the freedom to pursue projects of his choosing. The Chief Executive Officer position would be far worse than the Vice President position he just left, and would distract him completely from his passion. Second, Apple doesn't need a singular visionary genius as CEO. It needs a team of visionaries with a coherent understanding of their goal and the freedom to act on it. Cook has been supremely effective in the role of assembling and managing that team, and has advanced Apple in numerous fundamental ways. Jobs was the right man to bring Apple back from the brink, remake it, and set it on the path to success. Cook is the right man to carry out Jobs's mission with a clear mind and steady hand. And Fred, it's not like Jobs waited until his dying breath to decide which of his lieutenants would assume his title. Cook was groomed for the role for a significant amount of time, and Jobs clearly had faith that he was the right man for the job. Now, that doesn't mean he'll still be running the company in five or ten or fifteen years. But this author isn't asking, "Who's next?" He's saying, "Yeah, Cook's doing great, I guess, but I bet they can find someone who could do even better." This is one step away from being another one of Wrong-Note Rocco Pendola's "Fire Tim Cook" rants from a couple years ago. #

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