In spite of his fierce and demanding leadership style, Steve Jobs, the late Apple chief, is widely regarded as one of the best CEOs of all time, credited with transforming a $30 billion company in the early 2000s into a $500 billion-plus company today. But could his cool and level-headed successor, Tim Cook, be even better? According to rankings on the company review site Glassdoor.com, Apple employees have bestowed their current boss with a 97 percent approval rating for his time at the helm between March 2011 and March 2012, which narrowly edges out Jobs' 95 percent approval rating the year prior. Could Tim Cook, known for his personable demeanor and operational genius, be on his way to surpassing the man who put Apple back on the map?
This proves Tim Cook is special: After just a year, Cook already ranks as the best chief executive in the country, says John Paczkowski at All Things D. "And not just in tech — across all industries." Cook had worked closely with Jobs since joining Apple in 1998, and while Cook has been "intent on hewing to the vision of his predecessor," he's "putting his own mark on the company as well" — starting a charitable-donation matching program, for example. He may not "surpass Jobs in panache or vision," but as a leader, he's right there with him.
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Let's not get carried away: Cook is doing well, says Erica Ogg at GigaOm. But a 2 percent difference is "a pretty small gap," especially when you factor in how long Jobs' tenure at Apple was. Cook is still "clearly in his honeymoon period." Employees may like him more than Jobs for now, but we'll see how he stacks up over time.
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Cook might be a good leader, but he's boring: Cook isn't an "idea man" like Jobs, says James Brumley at InvestorPlace, which could worry shareholders who have grown used to constant innovation in Apple's product line. At this point, though, the company's mission seems to be about promoting "more efficiency" and "less attitude" — with less emphasis on creativity. In five or 10 years, Apple will be different under Cook's leadership, and maybe even more profitable. But without Steve Jobs, it will also be "a little boring."
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