Jeff Williams Seen as Next CEO of Apple; But He is 95% Operations, 5% Product

Jeff Williams's extra responsibility to supervise design studio (apart from being a chief operating officer) at Apple has made some believe he would be the next CEO when Tim Cook resigns. Bloomberg spoke to Apple's current and former employees and found some compelling reasons and arguments.

After Jony Ive’s departure from Apple, the media world was worried about his worthy replacement. However, Apple took Jony’s departure as just another resignation from the team. And the Cupertino-giant assigned Jeff Williams to supervise design studio in addition to his primary role as chief operating officer.

This dual responsibility pushes Jeff close to his immediate Mr. Tim Cook. So the inner circles at Apple quickly take a hint that Jeff is the next CEO of Apple, once Cook puts his papers. But current and former colleagues at Apple perceive Jeff as 95% operations and 5% product.

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Jeff Williams: A Modest, Disciplined, and Demanding Leader

Bloomberg spoke to many Apple employees, and they responded on the condition of anonymity: “During his years as the company’s operations chief, Cook’s old job, Williams has distinguished himself as a modest, disciplined, demanding leader in the current CEO’s style.”

“He’s negotiated with suppliers, shipped hundreds of millions of devices a year from Chinese factories to the rest of the globe, and been a bit more hands-on with product development than Cook.”

What Bloomberg wishes to convey is that “Apple’s heir apparent is much more like Tim Cook than Steve Jobs.” The argument gives birth to a question: Does Apple need someone like Steve Jobs at this juncture?

Perhaps Michael Gartenberg, a former Apple marketing executive, has nicely put,
“One doesn’t necessarily need a visionary as CEO of Apple as long as there’s a visionary in the company that the CEO can work with.”

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One must not forget that it was Tim Cook, who has been leading Apple for the last eight years, and during his tenure as CEO of Apple, the brand briefly achieved the status of a trillion-dollar company.

Bloomberg reports cite a former Apple executive as saying, “He’s the closest thing at the company to Tim Cook, and you’ll get more of that. If you think Cook is doing a good job, then it’s a good choice.”

There were whispers among former and current colleagues at Apple that Jeff Williams would be the right choice for the top job; many had been positioning Jeff as such long before Ive’s departure.

People working in Apple for a long time believe that “Apple Watch has been Williams’s biggest test. Months before the first model’s release in 2015, some employees testing the device began having allergic reactions to the type of nickel used in its casing, a not-uncommon issue with wristwear.”

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“Williams made the call to scrap thousands of Watches the company had already produced and ramp up a separate manufacturing line with a different kind of nickel.

“Employees also noticed that the “taptic engine,” a Williams priority that allows the Watch to vibrate more quietly than a typical phone part when it receives notifications, was prone to long-term failure from corrosion. Again, Williams decided not to send out a few thousand Watches that were affected. Employees got them instead.”

That’s all folks!

If Jeff Williams becomes the CEO of Apple in the future, he may have more significant responsibility for product innovation to erase his current image of 95% operations and 5% product.

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Do you think Jeff Williams will be able to prove his mettle? Share your feedback with us in the comment section.

Jignesh Padhiyar
Jignesh Padhiyar is the co-founder of who has a keen eye for news, rumors and all the unusual stuff that happens around Apple products. During his tight schedule, Jignesh finds some moments of respite to share side-splitting contents on social media.
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