After the death of one of the most influential people in the technology industry across the history, who is Steve Jobs, in 2011. Apple company was into a new challenge of who will take the place of Chief Executive manager Of Apple. On that level, Tim Cook has been appointed as the new Apple CEO, and he is still running this position to the actual moment (Apple, 2020). Recently, he was selected as one of the most-performing CEOs in the world in 2019 with other different CEOs from other big companies such as Nvidia, Disney, and Microsoft, etc. (Harvard Business Review Staff, 2019) Tim was born on November 1, 1960 (age 59), and he had got a good education during his growing. As well as, he graduated from a well-known university in USA, Auburn University. He graduated as an Industrial engineer in 1982. Later, He moved to Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business to study a master’s degree in Business Administration. Due to his brilliance, he was awarded the title of Fuqua Scholar, which is a given award to the top 10 graduates from that business school. Besides, during his career journey, he worked for different important companies like IBM, Reseller Division, and Compaq. All the jobs he worked and experiences he got were at
I.T. companies, which nominated him to join Apple and become its Chief Operating Officer and then its CEO (Biography.com Editors, 2014).
At the time Tim Cook joined Apple, the firm was on the edge of collapse when its founder Steve Jobs got back to the firm in 1997. Tim’s first position at that time was as a senior vice president of worldwide operations. He made a significant impact on the industrialization of Apple products when he moved it away from its own factories to outside contractors, in China, for example (Gregersen, 2012). That move was essential to keep products cost low and to reduce the industrialization time of Apple products from months to days. All that had happened between the date of his joining to the firm and 2002, while Apple products were seeing media uprising and expanding global market. Especially after the revealing of the iPod and the new iMac (Gregersen, 2012).
As we all know, successful people around the world always have some featured characteristics that make them who they are, and Tim Cook is one of these few people. However, before he takes over the control of Apple firm after the death of Steve Jobs, people were carrying doubts that he will not be able to keep the company stable and robust. By the time he could show his capability and his power as a CEO to the world. Tim has proved himself to the world that he is fulfilled with several advantages and features that led him to be one of the most top leaders in the world. Here are some of his characteristics as a leader:
· RiskTaker: Sometimes, it could be dangerous to take a risk, but for Tim, it is a way to overcome problems and issues. In the business world, it is necessary to have the braveness to take risks because, as Tim noted a time, “we take risks knowing that risk will sometimes result in failure, but without the possibility of failure, there is no possibility of success” (Sattar, 2019).
· Valuing Collaboration: As a person, Tim always appreciates and values collaboration among his employees. He is a very helpful person and a good listener who have good contact connection with employees, in order to discover the new ideas. He already showed this part of his leadership skills once in an interview (Sattar, 2019).
· Being Humble: Tim, as a person, he is so lovely by his employees due to the chances he provides them with, and the way he treats them. Also, he is that a kind of CEO who visits his company stores to see the customers face-to-face and discuss with them the experience of his company products’ (Morello, n.d.).
· Being Transparent: According to what did he said once to Businessweek, an American weekly business magazine, Tim believes in transparency, “We want to be as innovative with supply responsibility as we are with our products. That is a high bar. The more transparent we are, the more it is in the public space” (Morello, n.d.).
Besides, Tim has been able to generate such impressive financial results for Apple from the date he joined it. He did not get his deserved credit as an important individual in the firm besides its magic wand, Steve Jobs. It is hard to generate enough information about the financial results that he has made since 1997 because he was playing his role in the background, and the total credits were going to Steve Jobs. However, lately, he became the Apple CEO’s, and we can judge the financial results of him since that date, 2011. In the first
five years of him as a CEO, he has developed the firm into a firm with roughly $600 billion in market capitalization (Murphy, 2016). The following charts are showing the firm financial revenue change from 2011 to 2017.
As we can see from the language of the figure provided by the previous charts, we can call Tim “the man of hard missions” due to his achievements with Apple. His mission was hard for him in the beginning because it was mainly about maintaining the massive revenue and keeping the profit base high (Balakrishnan, 2017). Then, it comes the task of the new innovations that were manifested on the Apple Watch product and the new iPhone “X”.
After all of what figures are showing, some people think that there were no new innovation products at Apple company since the release of the first iPhone by Steve Jobs. In that sense, to fight this point of view of these critics who were saying that Tom must be changed for no New innovation, Tom went out to the public to announce Apple’s new products, which were the Apple Watch and Airpods (Jones, 2019). Both products have made a quantum leap in company fiscals due to the frequent high demand for them.
The top 100 listed CEOs in 2019 according to Business Harvard Review magazine, are listed based on some specific factors, these factors are not only related to the financial aspect of each CEO, but also the CSR module followed by each CEO from the list. That is including other aspects such as core values and treatment of employees, environmental impact, interaction with society. To remind, Apple’s interest in CSR as a business module to lead the company has increased after Tim became the firm CEO. Though the CSR module followed by Apple firm is led by Lisa Jackson, and she gives her reports directly to Tim (Dudovskiy, 2019). She is the vice president, environment, policy, and social initiatives of Apple. Below, are the manifestations of some CSR module of Apple run by Tim:
· Educating and Empowering Workers: “People come first, in everything we do”, this sentence is quoted from the Apple Supplier Responsibility page, on its website. It is showing the importance of empowering workers by educating them. Apple has provided from 2008 various educational programs to almost 4 million supplier employees as well as that Apple gave App Development and Swift course, 68% of people who in attended with no background in coding have become able to build their apps. (Dudovskiy, 2019)
· Gender Equality and Minorities: As a CEO on the 500 fortune companies, Tim is encouraging the diversity between laborers, as well as that he is the only gay CEO at the 500 fortune companies. (Dudovskiy, 2019)
· Waste Reduction and Recycling: Since 2008, Apple has been working on diverting more than 508 million pounds of electronic waste from landfills. The company is also offering some recycling programs in the countries where are their product operated. (Dudovskiy, 2019)
· Sustainable Sourcing: Apple has got a partnership with The Conservation Fund in order to protect thousands of acres of sustainable forest in North Carolina and Maine. Apple also has some plans of contributing to the task of transition up other acres of sustainable forest to 1 million, across five southern provinces, into conscientious management by 2020. (Dudovskiy, 2019)
To sum up all the discussion above, that was about one of the top 100 CEOs in 2019 mentioning different aspects of succeeding as a CEO in term of leadership and
management; there is a common question to the people’s minds, which is “Are great leaders/managers born or made?”. If we asked someone who is considered a successful leader, the answer would be that the great leaders are made not born. This answer is an approved fact from different researchers and people who are studying management and leadership, as Brigette Hyacinth mentioned in one of her articles “If leaders were solely born, what is the point of the rest of us studying leadership or management?” (Hyacinth, 2014). To clarify, leadership and management both are the process of learning, educating, observation, and experiencing. Anyone could become a leader because it is a skill, not a hereditary trait, as people think. Moreover, the skills can be learned over time by various processes such as practice, training, and repeating.
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By Mohamed Filali Aouami