updated 05:50 pm EDT, Tue November 1, 2011
Apple contacts say Cook changing some parts as CEO
Recently appointed Apple CEO Tim Cook is making some, though not fundamental, changes in the approach to management over the late Steve Jobs, insiders disclosed Tuesday. While he's already known to more actively contact staff, the Wall Street Journal sources also understood that he was overseeing tasks common to CEOs but which Jobs had seldom involved himself with, such as corporate reporting and promotions. Cook is described as more "accessible" and, during Jobs' second tenure, was often an advisor on how to approach the co-founder on a given subject.
The promotion of Eddy Cue to oversee the Internet Software group was one of Cook's first moves.
His biggest change so far has been in the education division. While the group has for years operated somewhat outside of Apple's usual structure, the CEO split the group into marketing and sales sections that were folded into their relevant parts of the company, one of the sources said. Well-known Senior VP of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller and sales channel VP John Brandon now have more responsibility, while the education lead John Couch talks to Schiller rather than Cook directly.
The change may be one of the few while Cook is in front, according to those who claim to know him. Although not the instigator, he reportedly shares Jobs' view of the importance of product development and of keeping products as secret as possible until genuinely ready to launch. Apple is considered relatively uncommon among other companies its size, many of whom often telegraph product plans months in advance to please corporate customers and shareholders, but which risk both losing anticipation as well as the possibility of changing or cancelling a product before it ships.
By necessity, Cook may have to change how some of the ideas at the company get started. Both Jobs and Cook's associates have said he's "not a product guy" and may leave more of the decision making to the Senior VPs, such as Jonathan Ive. Investors have also hoped for cash dividends and stock buybacks, which Cook is rumored to be considering, although sustained share growth has reduced calls for Apple to directly pay shareholders.