Apple CEO Tim Cook is coming out of Steve Jobs’ admittedly long shadow. The former Jobs subordinate and COO was named his boss’ successor last August after the legendary Apple co-founder retired just prior to his passing. Now Cook, who has made headlines by opening up his notoriously secretive company’s overseas trade practices by providing lists of suppliers and publicly discussing working conditions in Foxconn plants in which the company’s products are manufactured, has received his due in the form of inclusion in Time Magazine’s annual List of 100 Most Influential People, “the people who inspire us, entertain us, challenge us and change our world.”
Cook was included on the most influential list together with Jobs’ biographer, Walter Isaacson, who wrote the tech visionary’s only authorized biography, published right after its subject’s death.
In explaining why he was chosen as one of the most influential men of the year, Time commissioned an essay on Cook by Apple board member and former Vice President Al Gore. According to Gore “Cook knows that his commitment to excellence is inseparable from the incredible ensemble he leads at Apple.” Many, if not most, of the higher executives and technologists from Jobs’ reign still work at Apple and Jonny Ives, the designer behind the iMac, iPhone, iPad and iPod, and one of Jobs’ most trusted subordinates, is still continuing his critical work and it seems that Cook’s success thus far has been to allow Jobs’ personnel choices and product roadmap to stay as they were.
The real test of Cook’s influence and ability to lead will come after the company begins to leave the roadmap that Jobs left behind and forges a new path independent of what Steve would have wanted.
Gore noted that:
Fiercely protective of Jobs’ legacy and deeply immersed in Apple’s culture, Cook, 51, has already led the world’s most valuable and innovative company to new heights while implementing major policy changes smoothly and brilliantly.
Only time will tell…