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Tim Cook took over for the late Steve Jobs as Apple's CEO in August 2011. Prior to that, Cook served as Apple's chief operating officer.
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Born in Alabama on November 1, 1960, Tim Cook graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering in 1982, and went on to earn an M.B.A. from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business in the late '80s. Following a 12-year career at IBM, in 1994, Cook became a chief operating officer (Reseller Division) at Intelligent Electronics. He then worked for Compaq as vice president of corporate materials, procuring and managing product inventory. After six months at Compaq,
"No more than five minutes into my initial interview with Steve [Jobs], I wanted to throw caution and logic to the wind and join Apple."
"I am where I am in life because my parents sacrificed more than they should have. Because of teachers, professors, friends, and mentors who cared more than they had to. And because of Steve Jobs and Apple who have provided me the opportunity to engage in truly meaningful work every day for over 12 years."
"Honestly, we'll compete with everybody. I love competition. As long as people invent their own stuff, I love competition."
Cook left his position and took a job at Apple. In August 2011, Cook was named Apple's new CEO, taking over the position for former CEO and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who died in October 2011 after a years-long battle with cancer.
Tim Cook was born Timothy D. Cook in the small town of Robertsdale, Alabama, on November 1, 1960. The middle of three sons born to father Donald, a shipyard worker, and mother Geraldine, a homemaker, Cook attended Robertsdale High School, and graduated second in his class in 1978. He then enrolled at Auburn University in Alabama, where he graduated in 1982 with a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering, and went on to earn a Master of Business Administration degree from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business in 1988. There, Cook earned the title of Fuqua Scholar—an honor given only to students at the the business school who graduate in the top 10 percent of their class.
Fresh out of graduate school, Cook embarked on a career in the field of compter technology: He was hired by IBM, where he moved up the ranks to become the computer corporation's North American Fulfillment director, managing manufacturing and distribution functions for IBM's Personal Computer Company in both North and Latin America.
Following a 12-year career at IBM, in 1994, Cook became a chief operating officer (Reseller Division) at Intelligent Electronics. Afte three years there, he was ready for another move: The Compaq Computer Corporation hired Cook as vice president of corporate materials, entrusting him with procuring and managing the company's product inventory. His time there was short-lived, however: After a six-month stint at Compaq, Cook left for a position at Apple.
"My most significant discovery so far in my life was the result of one single decision: My decision to join Apple," Cook stated nearly 15 years after joining the corporation, while speaking at Auburn University's commencement ceremony in 2010.
But Cook's decision to join Apple wasn't an easy one: He began working for Apple in early 1998, before the company had developed the likes of the iMac, iPod, iPhone or iPad, and when it was seeing declining profits instead of profit growth. According to Cook, prior to accepting his job at Apple, he was actually dissuaded from taking the job, and was told that the company's future looked very bleak: "While Apple did make Macs, the company had been losing sales for years and was commonly considered to be on the verge of extinction.
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