During an extensive interview with the New York Times, Apple CEO Tim Cook says he doesn’t see himself remaining in the position for another decade — but has no plans to resign anytime soon as “I feel great right now and the date is not in sight.” However, when that date comes, who might replace him?
Cook has been Apple’s CEO for almost 10 years now, and if he were to resign tomorrow, he would be succeeded by Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams, according to a 2020 article by Bloomberg.
Williams has played an important part in developing Apple’s new products which include Apple Watch and its various health features. He currently oversees the company’s operations which deals with manufacturing, suppliers, and component sourcing.
Williams oversees Apple’s entire worldwide operations, as well as customer service and support. He leads Apple’s design team and the software and hardware engineering for Apple Watch. Williams also drives the company’s health initiatives.
Williams played a key role in Apple’s entry into the mobile phone market with the launch of the iPhone, and since 2010 has led worldwide operations for all products. He also led the engineering development of Apple Watch. Jeff joined Apple in 1998 as head of Worldwide Procurement.
Prior to Apple, Williams worked for the IBM Corporation from 1985 to 1998 in a number of operations and engineering roles. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University and an MBA from Duke University.
Obviously, Williams is qualified. However, what about Craig Federigihi, the current senior vice president of software engineering at the company? He seems like a natural heir to the throne and he is, arguably, the best “face” of Apple during online and live media events.
Federighi oversees the development of iOS and macOS. He returned to Apple in 2009 to lead macOS engineering, and in 2012 took on responsibility for iOS as well.
Prior to his return, Federighi worked at NeXT, followed by Apple, and then spent a decade at Ariba, an internet e-commerce pioneer where he held several roles including chief technology officer. Craig holds a Master of Science degree in Computer Science and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley.
Another Bloomberg article lists other potential replacements for Cook. However, I think it will be either Williams or Federigihi and my gut tells me that it’s the latter. (Admittedly, I’m biased as Craig and I have similar hair styles). Whoever the replacement is, Cook is doing a great job, so, hopefully, we won’t have to discover who his successor will be for years to come.