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Tim Cook says a succession plan is in place for when he retires

Published Nov 21st, 2023 6:44PM EST
Apple CEO Tim Cook besides Vision Pro spatial computer after WWDC 2023 keynote
Image: Apple Inc.

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At 63 years old, Tim Cook is currently one of the older tech CEOs working today. Though Cook has no plans to retire from Apple just yet, he did recently explain that a detailed succession plan is already in place for when that day comes. In other words, a Succession-style battle where underlings vie for the CEO spot once Cook leaves isn’t in the cards.

Cook talking about a succession plan in and of itself is interesting, especially given that Steve Jobs many years ago was somewhat coy about who would take charge after him.

Cook’s remarks came during a recent interview with Dua Lipa for BBC Sounds.

“We’re a company that believes in working on succession plans, so we have very detailed succession plans,” Cook said. “Because something unpredictable can always happen. I could step off the wrong curb tomorrow. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen. I pray that it doesn’t.”

When Dua Lipa followed up with a question about who might be his successor, Cook naturally didn’t elaborate.

“I can’t say that,” Cook answered. “But I would say that my job is to prepare several people for the ability to succeed, and I really want the person to come from within Apple, the next CEO. So that’s my role: That there’s several for the board to pick from.”

The full interview is below and touches on a wide breadth of topics, including climate change and artificial intelligence.

On a related note, I think it’s fair to say that Cook over the years has been targeted with unfair critiques. While some critics will point to a “lack of innovation” under his command, that perspective fails to account for the fact that revolutionary products, almost by definition, come along once in a lifetime. Besides, Apple with Cook in charge rolled out the iPhone X, the Apple Watch, and the forthcoming Vision Pro. What’s more, Apple under Cook has become a $3 trillion company. Overall, Cook has been an exemplary CEO, and it’s easy to see why Steve Jobs hand-picked him for the role.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.