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Tim Cook helped transform Apple from a has-been to the world's second most valuable company. Now the all-star executive has punched his ticket to become the company's next CEO.  (Source: Monica M. Davey/EPA/Corbis)

Tim Cook, showing off a Macbook Air at a 2010 press event is a reserved figure, but has helped Apple become a leader in profit margins. He has negotiated industry leading long term contracts with top components suppliers.  (Source: Getty Images)

Mr. Cook must now lead the company into the future as CEO -- because this time, it sounds like Mr. Jobs' resignation is permanent.
Mr. Cook, much like Steve Jobs, is a tireless workaholic with a thirst for excellence

With the shock of the news that Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) long time CEO and company co-founder, Steven P. Jobs, was abruptly resigning from his current position, attention has turned to his anointed successor, Timothy "Tim" D. Cook.

I. Early History

Mr. Cook, age 50, was born in Robertsdale, Alabama to a shipyard worker.  As a young man he earned a bachelor of science degree from Auburn University in industrial engineering in 1982.  Two years later he became International Business Machines Corp.'s (IBM) director of North American Fulfillment.

As he honed his supplies and procurement skills, he also solidified his business expertise, obtaining a master in business administration from Duke University in 1988.  In 1994 he left IBM to become chief operating officer at Intelligent Electronics, a value-plus computer reseller with close ties to Apple. 

A misdiagnosis with multiple sclerosis in 1996 helped Mr. Cook "see the world in a different way", so while he spent much time in the office, he also took care of his health being a "fitness nut in the gym by 5 AM." He would soon be in for another shock as forces outside his control conspired to fracture the IE's multi-billion dollar empire in 1997.

After a brief six month stint at Compaq, Mr Cook was reportedly personally hunted down by Steve Jobs and wooed into returning to Apple, a year after Mr. Jobs returned to the company as CEO.

II. Rise at Apple

A part of the new look Apple, Mr. Cook served as Worldwide Operations Senior Vice President.  In the position he helped to turn around the struggling veteran, spearheading efforts to phase out Apple's manufacturing capacity.  

About a decade ago he also helped procure contracts with flash memory manufacturers, which helped make Apple Inc.'s iPod series remain the best-selling MP3 player on the market, a success that gave Apple the capital it needed to launch other best-selling platforms like the iPhone and iPad.

Steve Jobs always respected Mr. Cook, seeing in him many of his own traits -- including a tireless devotion to the company and refusal to accept the status quo.  He reportedly survived the hectic life of an Apple executive on "an endless series of energy bars" and took pride in "being first into the office and the last one out".

Speaking of out, Mr. Cook's sexuality was long the subject of speculation as he'd never been married and close confidants reportedly said he was gay.  Mr. Cook has never officially acknowledged these rumors, despite reports that Apple's management would be supportive of him, should he choose to acknowledge his sexual orientation publicly.  If he is indeed gay, Mr. Cook is more like brilliant reserved gay computer scientist Alan Turing, than the colorful MTV characters today's public knows the orientation by.

In 2004 Mr. Cook was selected out of several elite executives to take over as chief executive officer for two months, while Mr. Jobs underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer.  The period passed without any major issues, and soon Mr. Jobs was back at the helm.

In 2007 Mr. Cook was appointed to COO of Apple.  Then in 2009 he was yet again plugged to be CEO for several months as Mr. Jobs took a medical leave to receive a liver transplant due to complications from his battle with cancer.

III. The Future

A recovered Mr. Jobs was back on the job as CEO, but it proved short-lived.  The wording of Mr. Jobs' recent letter indicated that this may not be another temporary assignment -- Mr. Cook has been designated as Mr. Jobs' successor.

Six years the elder, Mr. Jobs writes, "As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple."

Now it's up to Mr. Cook to decide where to take the company, which is currently the second most valuable company in the world in terms of market capitalization and is number #1 in the tablet market, #3 in the U.S. PC market, #2 in the smart phone OS maker, #1 in the digital media market, and #1 in the dwindling MP3 player market, as well.

Mr. Cook has his work cut out for him -- particularly in transforming himself into more of a public figure.  While Steve Jobs has relished the limelight and served as ringmaster at many a flash product launch, Mr. Cook is more reserved.  Business should be a no brainer for Mr. Cook, but proclaiming the "magic" of Apple's wares?  That might take some effort.

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RE: Sigh
By robinthakur on 8/25/2011 11:58:01 AM , Rating: 1
Please don't be so homophobic, it makes you and your country look ignorant on a platform viewed the world over by all races, creeds and sexual orientations.

RE: Sigh
By arazok on 8/25/2011 3:21:10 PM , Rating: 3
I'm not an American. Way to make an assumption.

I'm a Canadian. We have legal gay marrage, one of the largest annual gay pride parades in the world, and Toronto’s identifying monument looks like a giant penis. Still think I made my country look ignorant on a platform viewed the world over by all races, creeds and sexual orientations?

In this country, we have something called a sense of humor. During the winter Olympics, we had William Shatner making beaver jokes, and our athleats wore knitted sweaters covered in Moose patterns. We realize that gay jokes are freaking hilarious, and are no indication of homophobia.

We also live close enough to the Americans to realize that they’ve got some pretty cool things going on down there, and it’s a massive and diverse country. It’s the only country in the world where you can live how you want. Want to smoke pot and marry a guy named Elton? Move to California. Hate people who smoke pot and are married to guys named Elton? Try Texas. Want to make a lot of money and wear trendy clothes 24/7? Try New York. Want to find god and have 38 kids with 7 underage wives? Kansas is fantastic!

And while we still think we’re better than they are (because people always think they’re better then everyone else), we also realize that we’re damn lucky to have them as neighbors.

As a person who’s been to America, Brittan, Germany, and Italy – let me tell you…. they live better lives than any European’s, and they generally seem like happier people.

RE: Sigh
By amanojaku on 8/25/2011 4:22:09 PM , Rating: 2
Want to find god and have 38 kids with 7 underage wives? Kansas is fantastic!
Correction: Utah. Kansas is religious, but not as big on the God thing. Arkansas is a good runner up, too.

I don't like your description of us New Yorkers, however. It should read:

"Want to crawl all over people like roaches, and maybe get some real ones with your overpriced apartment? Suffer in New York."

RE: Sigh
By cabbag3 on 8/25/2011 9:13:41 PM , Rating: 2
be serious before you try shooting off about how you've been everywhere. you're embarrassing yourself by saying that America is even remotely as nice as many countries in Europe.

It's big headed guys like you who give the US and Canada a bad rep.

as for this "It’s the only country in the world where you can live how you want. ". ...right. Do the world a favor and stay in Canada.

RE: Sigh
By zmatt on 8/29/2011 2:49:13 AM , Rating: 2
I'd like to know why you think this. I have a friend who is from Normandy and studied with me for a year and commented on how much nicer and open minded we are than Parisians. it's not hard to find evidence of European xenophobia and racism. you can see how the french have outlawed the Burqa and they have a department to ensure the purity of their language or how Angela Merkel has been heavily criticized by her people for being "pro muslim".

I'm not going to say that America is perfect, it is extremely flawed, but it is one of the most diverse places in the world and as the OP said, there is a place for everyone.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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