The spotlight on Tim Cook isn’t going away anytime soon, especially when Apple has yet to unveil any of the new “product categories” he promised would come this year.
In a new profile by The Wall Street Journal, Cook’s efforts to shape and mature Apple are detailed, including the fact that he is “actively seeking” new members for the company’s board of directors.
Cook has been consistently bringing in fresh blood to help him lead Apple, like former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts. It makes sense for him to also expand Apple’s board, were the current leadership is very engrained in the history of Apple under Jobs’ leadership.
For being the most valuable company in the world, Apple’s board of directors is insanely small at only eight people. As noted by the Journal, four of them have been there for over a decade and six are 63 or older. Arthur D. Levinson, former CEO of Genentech, replaced Steve Jobs as chairman of the board in 2011. Other longtime members, like Bill Campbell, J. Crew’s Mickey Drexler, Disney CEO Bob Iger, and Al Gore were all close to Jobs.
Beyond the board lineup, Cook has established a “kinder, gentler workplace,” according to Apple employees who spoke to the Journal. He is reportedly “less hands-on when it comes to product development” and has delegated much of the responsibilities to executives like Jony Ive and Craig Federighi. From the Journal’s report:
Presented with a list of product ideas, Mr. Jobs quickly dismissed most with an expletive, said people who worked with both men. Mr. Cook tends to encourage staffers with comments like “let’s push that forward” or “let’s see what we can do with that” in his Southern drawl, a remnant of his Alabama upbringing.
The report goes on to reiterate that an iWatch “with advanced sensors to track a user’s fitness and health” is coming in the fall alongside a bigger iPhone, which has already been reported ad nauseum.
Since Apple has gotten much bigger in recent years, it is beginning to dabble in more areas at once. An avalanche of new software was announced at WWDC last month, and the company’s recent purchase of Beats signals a shift from the low-key acquisitions it normally makes of lesser-known brands.
The question now is whether Apple can continue to release amazing new products and also keep its trademark focus on quality above all else. How it chooses to manage the Beats brand will be another major indicator of how much has changed under Cook’s leadership.