Steve Jobs ‘wouldn’t have succeeded’ without Tim Cook, former Apple exec explains

Steve Jobs ‘wouldn’t have succeeded’ without Tim Cook, former Apple exec explains

Steve Jobs is considered by many to be the mastermind of Apple (AAPL) and its immeasurable impact on the world of technology.

According to one former company executive, however, Jobs wouldn’t have gotten as far as he did without some assistance from Tim Cook, who served as executive vice president for worldwide sales and operations and is now CEO of the company.

“While I’m in no position to comment on many things about [Jobs], the journey of [Jony] Ive and Tim Cook and others, the closest to him, as an outsider when people would ask me, I’d say ‘if it weren’t for Tim Cook, Steve wouldn’t have succeeded or Jony Ive,” Satjiv Chahil, former marketing chief at Apple, told Yahoo Finance (video above).

The reason for that, Chahil explained, was because operationally, the company was “always a disaster.”

“Products wouldn’t show up,” he said. “Some wouldn’t work. They’d land in the wrong country.”

When Cook was asked by Jobs to join Apple in 1998, he initially served as senior vice president for worldwide operations. One of his first major moves was closing factories and warehouses around the world, instead opting to establish relationships with contract manufacturers.

Steve Jobs (R), Apple Inc. CEO, and Tim Cook, Apple Inc. Coo, speak at a press conference at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California. (Photo by Kimberly White/Corbis via Getty Images)

As a result, according to CNN Business, “Apple’s inventory, measured by the amount of time it sat on the company’s balance sheet, quickly fell from months to days.”

Cook also helped spearhead early company investments into flash memory, which helped Apple create its initial products like the iPod Nano.

“Ever since [Jobs] got Tim Cook, they’re like a machine,” Chahil said. “The products always landed in the end. In companies, the unsung heroes are the operation guys who make everything work. But there’s nothing brilliantly new that hit.”

Cook became lead operations in 2007, then filled in the chief executive role in 2009 when Jobs took his first medical leave of absence. Two years later, he took the helm once more when Jobs was forced to take another medical leave due to cancer. Cook became in charge of Apple’s operations, keeping the ship afloat for Jobs in the meantime.

Chahil never worked directly with Jobs during his stint at Apple, but praised the company’s founder as “the greatest communicator there was.”

“He knew how to present ideas, product — he knew how to catch the imagination of people,” Chahil said. “So I always thought of him as the chief imagination officer.”

Adriana Belmonte is a reporter and editor covering politics and health care policy for Yahoo Finance. You can follow her on Twitter @adrianambells and reach her at [email protected].

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