January 2024 Articles

I’ve enjoyed watching Tim Cook lead Apple over the past nearly 13 years. Something he seems to have thought a lot about during his tenure is succession planning for his role as CEO. That thread continues as Apple’s Board of Directors notes that they have updated the CEO’s retirement vesting policy. “The time‐based RSUs awarded to Mr. Cook in 2023 provide for pro‐rata instead of full vesting in the event of retirement during the term of the award and only if retirement occurs on or after the first anniversary of the grant date. The People and Compensation Committee intends to maintain this same structure for future years.”

Tim, thank you for your continued leadership at Apple. When the times comes to say goodbye and welcome a new CEO, I want to thank you for all the thought you’ve put into succession planning at Apple for not only your role, but across the leadership team.

Succession Planning Quotes in the News

In October 2017 with BuzzFeed News, Tim said: “I see my role as CEO to prepare as many people as I can to be CEO, and that’s what I’m doing. And then the board makes a decision at that point in time.”

In 2018 at the company’s annual shareholder meeting, Bloomberg News reported that Tim Cook addressed succession planning “saying that eventually ‘passing the baton’ properly is one of his most important roles.

Most recently, in November 2023 with Dua Lipa’s At Your Service podcast, Tim reflected on his time at Apple: “I love it, I can’t envision my life without being there, so I’ll be there for a while.” Then, asked if there was a succession plan at Apple, he continued:

“We’re a company that believes in working on succession plans, so we have very detailed succession plans. Because something unpredictable can always happen. I could step off the wrong curb tomorrow. Hopefully that doesn’t happen, I pray that it doesn’t.”

Dua Lipa: “Are you able to say who is in line for succession?”

“I can’t say that, but I would say that my job is to prepare several people for the ability to succeed, and I really want the person to come from within Apple, the next CEO. So that’s my role: That there’s several for the board to pick from.”

KPBS today carried a story about Port of San Diego president, CEO Joe Stuyvesant, resigning. They included some or all of his statement. I really like the way he closed his resignation statement:

It is with gratitude to the Board of Port Commissioners that I close the chapter on my leadership at the Port of San Diego. Without the dedicated staff of professional public servants, there is no port. I look back to my service at the port with a sense of pride in what we accomplished under the leadership of the Board of Port Commissioners and the entire port team. While I will miss being part of the port team, new opportunities have recently presented themselves, and I am excited to pursue them.