Fear not, Apple shareholders, there are no imminent changes planned at the top of the world’s highest-valued company.
Big Tech has been shaken over the past few days by the firing of Sam Altman from OpenAI—before the ousted boss was quickly scooped up by one of its major investors, Microsoft.
No such disruption is on the cards for Apple, its CEO Tim Cook has said, confirming he has no plans to hand over the reins to anyone else in the next couple of years.
However, as any big business will know, a succession plan for the unexpected or the eventual is paramount. Which is why Cook’s succession plan for the Steve Jobs-co-founded company doesn’t rely on just one option, but several future successors.
Speaking to artist Dua Lipa on her ‘At Your Service’ podcast released over the weekend, Cook said he couldn’t imagine his life without his days at Apple.
Although remaining CEO until 2050—in order to see Apple’s promise of a 90% reduction in emissions come to fruition—might be a bit of a “stretch,” Cook admitted, he has no plans to leave anytime soon.
“I don’t know how long I’ll be there,” Cook admitted. “I love it there. I can’t envision my life without being there, and so I’ll be there for a while.”
However Cook, estimated to be worth more than $1 billion by Bloomberg, said that hadn’t prevented the team from the all-important task of succession planning.
“We’re a company that believes in working on succession plans, so we have very detailed succession plans,” Cook revealed. “Because something that’s unpredictable can always happen, I can step off the wrong curb tomorrow—I pray that doesn’t happen.”
Who’s in line?
Cook, who has been with Apple for 25 years, admits he never expected to become CEO of the company.
However, those who are being tapped up to take his place may well be aware of their potential—and the fact they’re not alone in the running.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Cook declined to comment on who may take the helm of the company which made history as the first Wall Street valued at $3 trillion.
However he did confirm his incumbent is likely to be an internal candidate as opposed to an external recruit—a move made by OpenAI’s board with the appointment of former Twitch CEO, Emmett Shear, to Altman’s former corner office.
Cook explained: “My job is to prepare several people for the ability to succeed, and I really want the person to come from within Apple. So that’s my role is to make sure there’s several for the board to pick from.”
Cook’s tenure as CEO
Despite his multiple decades with the company—the past 12 years of which have been as CEO—Apple is a brand still synonymous with the eminent Steve Jobs.
But Cook—who was paid $49 million in 2023—isn’t envious of this association, indeed he revealed he is continually humbled to lead the team of more than 160,000 people.
In August 2011, when Cook was named Apple CEO the company’s share price was under $13 dollars—now it stands at more than 14 times that at $191.45, up 53% this year alone.
But for the massive growth—and returns its shareholders have seen—Cook doesn’t want glory, saying he is incredibly privileged to lead Apple and says it’s his job to now give back.
“Steve was an original,” Cook said. “I think only Steve could have created Apple and we owe him a debt of gratitude. There’s no doubt in my mind that if he were still alive today the company would be doing outstanding, and he would still be CEO.
“I don’t think of it as a ‘credit’ deal—plus I get to work with people I love and that are unbelievable at doing what they do. We share the credit from the company.”