Apple CEO Tim Cook owes a great deal to his predecessor Steve Jobs—who turned the company into a leading global software company.
- In an interview with GQ, Cook says he learned a great deal about leadership from his predecessor.
- Cook says he admired Jobs’ ability to lead others and bring creativity and boundary-pushing ideas out of the people he worked with at every stage of the development process, recognizing inspiration doesn’t always come from the same group or place.
- The company maintains many of Jobs’ traditions—such as a daily 9 am meeting—but always focuses on the future.
Why It’s Important
As we previously reported, Steve Jobs remains one of the most influential and inspirational leaders of the 21st century, having led Apple into its most successful and innovative period as a company.
Jobs passed away in 2011, making Tim Cook the new CEO of Apple, although he knew he could not replace the company founder. His predecessor had created the Apple 2 computer, the iPod, and the iPhone—and turned Apple into one of the most successful brands in the world. Cook has lead the company through many new innovations, including the AirPods, Apple Watch, and AppleTV+. Those innovations wouldn’t have been possible without Cook following his teacher’s ideas.
“I knew it could not be Steve. He was the kind of individual who appears once in a hundred years, who is original in any way. And so what I had to do was be the best version of myself,” says Cook.
He told a crowd at Vox Media’s 2022 Code conference in Los Angeles that Jobs was the greatest teacher he’s ever had and that his work is carried on by himself and his employees at Apple.
“One of the things I loved about him was that he didn’t expect innovation and creativity to come from one group within the company. This is expected from all places and regions of the company,” says Cook. “When we were running operations, we tried to be innovative in operations and innovative in operations, just as we’ve been innovative in other places. We had to basically build the products that we design.”