Tim Cook Can’t Run Apple Forever. Who’s Next?

Author: Editors Desk, Mark Gurman Source: Bloomberg
May 9, 2024 at 08:57
Illustration: Justin Metz for Bloomberg Businessweek
Illustration: Justin Metz for Bloomberg Businessweek

John Ternus, the head of hardware engineering, is emerging as a potential successor to the CEO.

Tim Cook has transformed Apple Inc. since taking over as chief executive officer from Steve Jobs in 2011, introducing new product categories (the smartwatch), pushing into new businesses (streaming video), and making an audacious attempt to take a new type of computing (mixed reality) mainstream. He’s served for far longer than the average Fortune 500 CEO, and, at 63, is older than many of his peers. But if it seems like a logical time for Cook to start planning for someone else to shape Apple’s next chapter, the situation is complicated by the lack of someone who’s both ready immediately and likely to be a long-term successor.

Cook hasn’t made many changes to Apple’s executive team, which is mostly comprised of close colleagues he’s worked with since the Jobs era. Other than the high-profile exit of designer Jony Ive and the arrival and departure of retail head Angela Ahrendts, the team has stayed mostly intact for the past decade. Like Cook, the key people in his inner circle are old enough and rich enough that they could have retired years ago.

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