According to a lone anonymous tipster writing into to Silicon Alley Insider, Apple COO Tim Cook is executive search firm Specer Stuart’s first choice for CEO of General Motors.
According to their tipster:
[Interim GM CEO Edward E. Whitacre] wants the candidate to come from a company known for operational excellence, innovation and customer satisfaction and in addition he is looking for someone that has turnaround experience. It also doesn’t hurt that [Tim] has been able to work with Jobs. Whitacre does want to stay on as Chairman. Also, Cook has been the key link to AT&T and should understand the culture that Whitacre, [a former AT&T CEO] built.
Despite the notoriously unreliable nature of lone, anonymous tipsters and their “inside information,” there’s a lot of reason to be skeptical here. Apple is already clearly grooming Cook for Jobs’ CEO position, whenever he deigns to step down, and there’s little doubt given Cook’s recent success leading Apple in Jobs’ absence that he would be a natural fit for the position. Trying to resurrect a moribund American car industry during the worst crisis in their history seems like a sucker’s bet in comparison.
But Cook might relish the challenge. Moreover, Cook’s own career aspirations might lead him to consider a career outside of Apple: if he’s got the taste of ultimate power over a company in his mouth after his six-month stint at the head of Apple, he might be unwilling to wait for Jobs’ departure.
In fact, who knows if Jobs even has an intention of parting Apple? Right now, it certainly seems unlikely, which means Cook’s career is in stasis indefinitely: there’s just no more rungs for him to climb in Apple until Jobs retires.
But all of this is just musing: the secretive Cook knows better than anyone what his internal career prospects and aspirations are. There’s worse things, after all, than being number two at the headquarters of one of the most revolutionary and profitable electronics manufacturer on Earth.