Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, said last month that he had decided to find his successor within the company and was trying to offer several options to the board.
Cook has worked at Apple for 25 years and served as CEO for more than 12 years. He has led Apple to unprecedented heights, but he is unlikely to be CEO forever.
Asked who is his successor, Cook said: "I can't give my name. My job is to identify several capable potential candidates." If Apple does decide to choose a successor from within, here are the four most likely candidates:
Craig Federici (Craig Federighi), senior vice president of software engineering at Apple
If you want to make a bet, you should bet on Kdridge, who is most likely to be appointed by Apple as the next CEO. Apart from Cook, Federici is probably the best-known face of Apple. To the public, he is the silver-haired executive who often appears in Apple keynote videos, but within Apple, he is a key part of the leadership team.
Federici is in charge of arguably Apple's most important products: the iOS, the operating system for iPhone, Apple's main cash cow, and MacOS, the operating system for Apple's Mac computers. But Federidge is not only a software man, his comprehensive ability is also very qualified for the post of CEO. As he has learned from many interviews, Federici has a deep understanding of the role of technology in the modern world, both good and bad. He is keenly aware of how it affects everything from our privacy to social cohesion to geopolitics.
Federici has another advantage: his age. The 56-year-old is the youngest potential successor. This means that he may have served as CEO for the longest time. After the 63-year-old Cook leaves, employees and investors will want the company to maintain long-term stability, rather than a CEO who is likely to retire five years after his appointment.
Greg Jos Viak (Greg Joswiak), senior vice president of global marketing at Apple
There may be no one on this list who knows Apple better than Joshviak. Joshviak, 60, came to Apple in 1986 and has worked for 37 years, meaning he has experienced all the company's ups and downs. He joined Apple after Jobs was ousted, so he knew what it was like to work at Apple under a short-sighted leadership. He is also well aware of the important role Jobs played in Apple's renaissance after his return to Apple in 1997. Joshviak helped develop the original iPod and iPhone, which saved Apple.
In other words, Jos Viak has been through all this and is well-informed. He knows what works and doesn't work for Apple, customers and shareholders. As senior vice president of global marketing, Jos Viak probably knows Apple's narrative and the way the company presents itself to the world better than anyone else at Apple. The best CEO is the master who can communicate the company's unified vision to employees and customers, and Jos Viak can do that.
Eddie Cue (Eddy Cue), senior vice president of Apple's services business
Apple is more than just a hardware company. In recent years, Apple has invested heavily in services led by Mr Cue, including digital media stores such as App Store and iTunes Store, advertising through these stores, cloud services such as iCloud Plus, streaming services such as Apple Music and Apple TV Plus, and payment services such as Apple Pay.
In fiscal year 2023, these services generated $85.2 billion in revenue for Apple, making it the largest revenue category for a company after iPhone. This is obviously due to Cue. Given the profits currently generated by the services business, it may only become more important to Apple in the coming years.
If services are critical to Apple's future growth, who better to lead Apple than the executive who built the service division's revenue to 11 figures? Cue, 59, joined Apple in 1989. This means that, like Joe Sviak, he sees the ups and downs of the company and knows what works and what doesn't.
Jeff Williams (Jeff Williams), Chief operating Officer of Apple
Considering the number of products Apple makes and ships each year, and the contributions made by dozens of different teams to launch these products, you will find that Apple works so smoothly. This is largely due to Williams.
Williams, 60, was Apple's chief operating officer (COO) before Cook became CEO in 2011. Many experts believe that people in the operations department are not the right CEO choice to follow in the footsteps of creative dreamers like Jobs, but Cook has clearly proved them wrong.
Williams, like Cook, is an excellent chief operating officer, and Williams is more than just an operator. He currently leads the company's design team and oversees Apple's booming health program, including the built-in health features of the Apple Watch. While health technology is still a relatively new area for Apple, the global digital health market is expected to reach $1.5 trillion by 2030.
If Apple can capture even a small portion of the market through its consumer health technology, it could help the company add tens of billions of dollars in annual revenue while enabling its users to lead healthier lives. Williams probably knows this better than anyone in the company.
Perhaps, with the exception of Cook, no one knows as fully as Williams how to make everything work smoothly at Apple. In addition, he has an engineering background and leads many of Apple's design and health programs, which means he is at least as qualified as Cook, or even more qualified, as CEO.
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