Tuesday, January 18, 2011

In 2009 Barclays Analyst Asks "(What if) Steve is Unable to Return". Tim Cook's Revealing Answer

In 2009 when Steve Jobs was on medical leave for his liver transplant Cook answered a question during the Q1 Earnings call in January on Apple's response to Steve Job's absence. It gives a very interesting look at Tim Cook's beliefs and Apple's philosopy :

Ben Reitzes (Barclays Capital) : ... 
Okay, thanks a lot and nice performance. Well, given that I'm going first, I'll ask how Steve is. I hope he's doing well and I just want to know how you'll run the company differently. With Tim or the same, and if need be, if Tim, do you feel like you would be the likely candidate if the worse case scenario were to happen; were Steve unable to return? Do you feel like you would be the candidate that would steer the helm here?
Peter Oppenheimer (Apple CFO) :
Ben, it's Peter. Steve is the CEO of Apple and plans to remain involved in major strategic decisions and Tim will be responsible for our day-to-day operations. 
Tim Cook's Response 
Tim Cook:
Ben, let me add something to that and backup just a bit. There is extraordinary breadth and depth and tenure among the Apple executive team, and they lead 35,000 employees that I would call wicked smart - and that's in all areas of the company from engineering to marketing to operations and sales and all the rest. And the values of our company are extremely well entrenched. We believe that we are on the face of the earth to make great products and that's not changing.
We are constantly focusing on innovating. We believe in the simple not the complex. We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products that we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution.
We believe in saying no to thousands of projects, so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us. We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot.
And frankly, we don't settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when we're wrong and the courage to change. And I think regardless of who is in what job those values are so embedded in this company that Apple will do extremely well. And I would just reiterate a point Peter made in his opening comments that I strongly believe that Apple is doing the best work in its history.

Full transcript of Earning Q&A here at Seeking Alpha.

More on Cook's Philosophy at his very revealing speech at Auburn U's Commencement Speech.