Tuesday, November 01, 2011, 03:18 pm PT (06:18 pm ET)
CEO Tim Cook looks to mold a more streamlined AppleApple CEO Tim Cook is starting to initiate change at the tech giant, looking to create a more streamlined and disciplined organization without straying from the company's forward thinking culture.
In a report released on Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal notes that Apple has seen a more streamlined operating structure with improved internal communication since Tim Cook took the helm as CEO in August, suggesting that he has already begun to effect change within the company.
Cook is described as a competent and organized manager who is already tweaking the structure of the world's most valuable tech company, including a restructuring of Apple's education division, making high-level promotions and being open to suggestions from employees. The changes have prompted one analyst to call Cook a contrast of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
"Steve thought he had all the answers," said Toni Sacconaghi, a research analyst for Sanford Bernstein & Co. "I am not sure Tim thinks he has all the answers."
Despite the changes that Cook initiated, the CEO is not expected to completely overhaul the company as he "isn't a fan of reorganizations," said a person familiar with the matter.
Cook is also a strong believer in Apple's culture of product development and design, though his colleagues and friends say that he is "not a product guy," an observation also noted by Jobs in Walter Isaacson's recently published biography about the former Apple chief. In a briefing of a new service Cook asked an employee, "tell me again how this helps me sell more phones?"
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks at Apple's Steve Jobs celebration
What Cook lacks in product knowledge he makes up for in a clear-minded and open approach to management, something that Jobs eschewed in place of gut intuition.
One of the first managerial moves Cook made in his first days as CEO was to mete responsibility to senior executives like vice president of worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller and sales executive John Brandon. Eddy Cue was also promoted to senior vice president of Internet software and services, a very visible position within the company.
Another corporate-level change is recently-announced charitable matching program that calls for Apple to match employee donations up to $10,000 per year, a change from the Jobs who was reportedly against giving money away.
Looking to the future of Apple, many investors are anticipating Cook will eventually focus on what the company will do with its $81.6 billion cash hoard. It was reported that Jobs was opposed to stock buybacks, but Cook said that he was "not religious about holding cash or not holding it," during the company's fourth quarter earnings call last month.
Some investment banks suggest that Apple could offer either dividends or stock buybacks, however the final decision would be up to the board of directors, of which Cook is a member.
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