In January of 2009, Apple Computer stock went into a tailspin as rumors about Steve Jobs’ failing health fueled speculation of an imminent leadership crisis for this icon of consumer electronics. Steve Jobs response was to appoint Tim Cook, Apple’s COO and able supply chain leader to the interim post of CEO while Mr. Jobs was on medical leave. I penned a Supply Chain Matters commentary at the time that noted that Cook’s solid supply chain operational background and focus on consistent execution may be just what Apple needed Our final commentary closed with the following: If you believe as I do that cutting your teeth in supply chain is a great proving ground for “C-level” success, than rest easy. All will be fine.
It is now one year later, and a Wall Street Journal article reports (paid subscription required) that Mr. Cook has been awarded a $22m cash and stock bonus based on his achievements as interim CEO. Not bad for one year’s work!
In reality, Mr. Cook’s 12 years of performance speaks for itself and we should not resent the fact those years of grounded cross-functional operational experience and the existence on enviable supply chain process capabilities certainly led credence to his performance bonus. While I have absolutely no quantified evidence, my suspicion is that Mr. Cook may well be the leader in the ‘world’s wealthiest and best paid supply chain executives’ category.
Perhaps there will be more highly experienced cross functional supply chain executives occupying the CEO slot in the future of global businesses. Then again, all of this compensation might go to their heads and perhaps cloud their former judgment skills.