By on January 4, 2010

Apple CFO Tim Cook

An anonymous tipster writes in to The Business Insider:

I saw your recent post on Tim Cook at Apple. I don’t know if he has been contacted yet but he is the top candidate that Spencer Stuart has identified as the next CEO of GM. I have an inside source at Spencer Stuart.

[Interim GM CEO Edward E. Whitacre] wants the candidate to come from a company known for operational excellence, innovation and customer satisfaction and in addition he is looking for someone that has turnaround experience. It also doesn’t hurt that [Tim] has been able to work with Jobs. Whitacre does want to stay on as Chairman. Also, Cook has been the key link to AT&T and should understand the culture that Whitacre, [a former AT&T CEO] built.

Will be interesting to see if he would leave Apple for this. I don’t know him but if he wants to be a CEO it does seem he needs to leave with Jobs back. Most interesting will be to see a CEO from Apple and a CFO from Microsoft.

Paging Thomas Friedman! [Hat Tip: CammyCorrigan]

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29 Comments on “Wild-Ass Rumor Of The Day: Apple COO “Top Candidate” For GM CEO Job...”


  • avatar
    tced2

    I would think this would be very low probability.  The auto business is very different from the computer business.  He’s worked in the computer business his entire business life.  He’s the one who got Apple out of manufacturing.

    • 0 avatar
      toxicroach

      Apple was a piss poor manufacturer.  They would have gone out of business unless they got out of the hardware business.  Which was a lot harder than it sounds, since what they convert wholesale to PC hardware in a single generation of computers and keep the customers who now couldn’t use the new programs or OS.  Which they did and now they are more successful than ever.  The immensity of the achievement seems to have flown over peoples head, because Apple made it look so easy that you didn’t really notice what was happening.  But they went from a company that was heading towards bankruptcy to being one of the most exciting companies in the country.

      So yeah,  if this is the  guy helped take Apple away from the dead end business model to one where they are making money hand over fist, I’d love to have him at GM. 

  • avatar
    late_apex

    Would be better to hire the Pope.  GM needs miracles!  Short of that I don’t think it matters who heads it up.  The time needed to reverse the ‘perception gap’ exceeds the time that GM will be able to keep getting my tax money.  The time needed to create enough good products exceeds the time that GM will be able to keep getting my tax money.  That time is election day.  When the bail-out vote-out takes place this year wall street will finally hear main street!

    GM cars will get iPod adapters….likely chrome iPod adapters to make it more upscale. Game over.

  • avatar
    Cynder70

    I find this sort of exit doubtful.  Apple has created an environment, a culture for innovation and forward thinking. A culture that answers the questions about what the product is, who the customers are and what it’s purpose is before developing the product to fit.   Microsoft, AT&T and least of all GM foster this product to profit environment.

  • avatar
    seanx37

    I assume this will mean future GM products will be great looking, easy to use, but much slower and far more expensive than the competetion?

  • avatar
    Ernie

    Dumb-Ass Rumor of the day:
    Current British Prime Minister to quit his job to be Hugo Chavez’ right-hand-man.
     
    Props to Ed for being able to copy and paste this though the laughter; I can barely type . . .
     
    “The Business Insider” should be making up news on this planet.  What next?  Berskshire is going to lose Buffet to GM?  This from the desk of “yeah, I like making money and being appreciated, but the public ridicule is very lacking”.

  • avatar
    rnc

    I wouldn’t call this dumb, Tim is an operational genius (integrated/global manufacturing, lowering cost while increasing quality, etc), yes he’s been in computers his whole life, but in the back end you don’t see that much of.  Do I think he will leave Apple?  No the company is his when time comes (am willing to bet board would pay whatever needed to keep him, upto Jobs giving up CEO title).  But he would be an excellent choice.

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      Hmmm…

      I thought an Comp/Comm guy was a stupid idea; unless they’re planning to offshore production to China. Starting with, say, lowest margin vehicles and working up from there.

    • 0 avatar
      Ernie

      I meant dumb in the sense that the rumor is just made up to get “The Business Insider” hits on google news.
       
      Ed nailed “wild-ass rumor” when he found that site.

  • avatar
    hurls

    Not to mention, would someone w/ Apple’s (horrendously bad) experience w/ AT&T want to walk into the arms of a former T CEO?

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    “I assume this will mean future GM products will be great looking, easy to use, but much slower and far more expensive than the competetion?”
     
    Nice try, given that GM was the Microsoft the auto industry – poor design, poor construction,  and poor reliability – backed up by non-existent service.  (coming from an ex-GM and very ex-Microsoft customer)

  • avatar
    rpol35

    The lack of hard manufacturing experience in a large agreement (union) setting will prove to be a hinderance for any prospective candidate at the CEO level in GM. Most superstars in manufacturing have been successful by off-shoring that task, something that isn’t going to happen at Government Motors, at least as long as we own 61% of it.

    This guy would probably be good at the conceptual level but, I fear, a lost ball in high grass, at the application (git ‘er done) level.

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      Ditto. The outside world things it’s SOOO easy to make cars. Most of the civil and aero guys I’ve worked with couldn’t survive ONE design and development cycle, AND meet quality and financial constraints. Don’t even get me started on production operations and logistics – they think it’s for sub-contactors.

  • avatar

    I believe Tim Cook is openly gay.  So his becoming CEO of GM would be quite something.

  • avatar
    tparkit

    Tim would be a good fit to sell the IPO. Washington has been trying (mainly but not exclusively via the Volt) to spin its takeover of GM – and subsequent injection of tens of $billions – as an intelligent investment in a sophisticated, high-tech future. No costly boondoggle, GM is poised to be a leading light of 21st century smartthink.

    Tim’s job would be to bring some Apple technoglitz with him to sprinkle on what is at bottom a political joint venture by Washington and the UAW, financed by money stolen from the rest of us.

    Tim won’t have to sell shares to the public, though; Washington’s friends will be bribed to buy them, with the return on every "invested" dollar guaranteed by the taxpayer.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    I think he would be a good fit.  The lack of manufacturing means nothing.  CEO’s are not concerned with the day to day parts of the business.  They are there to run the business.  There are very few guys who are CIO’s of companies.  The CIO doesn’t know how to install an OS on his computer, but he will be fine in the job, and so will Mr. Cook.  I don’t know that he is coming, after all, it is just a rumor.  I think that if he was successful in turning GM around, he could work for any company as a CEO for any price.

  • avatar
    mpresley

    Apple, whatever you think of their products as products, is generally seen as “cool.”  GM is whatever the opposite of cool is, and I don’t think that’s hot.  Apple is able to command a premium for their products because they exude coolness, are fashionable, have the trendy college professor and gay market cornered (I had to throw that in, sorry), and their products are generally (but not always) reliable.  GM is none of the above.  Now, the guy might have been a good fit for SAAB, but not GM as a whole.

  • avatar
    ASISEEIT

    Question- When/If- G.M. ever hires a good CEO that actually makes the business work again will the board of directors that gave Waggoner endless votes of confidence live with themselves? They seemed to have enjoyed their former CEO destroy most of G.M. by rallying him with their unconditional support!

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Question- When/If- G.M. ever hires a good CEO that actually makes the business work again will the board of directors that gave Waggoner endless votes of confidence live with themselves? They seemed to have enjoyed their former CEO destroy most of G.M. by rallying him with their unconditional support!
       
      Say what you will about the PTFOA, one very positive change they made was a wholesale gutting of GM’s BoD.  Gone are the likes of George Fischer, who was wont to exclaim that Rick et al “had the right stuff” while GM was bleeding cash, brand equity, respect and talent.
       
      Remember, Whitacre is the interim CEO, but he’s the permanent Chairman.  His track record over the past few months is not one I’d qualify as “bystanderish”.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    “Will be interesting to see if he would leave Apple for this. I don’t know him but if he wants to be a CEO it does seem he needs to leave with Jobs back.”
    Last picture I saw of Jobs showed a very sick man. I don’t think that Mr. Jobs is long term for that position.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    Could it be that Mr. Cook simply has a good PR guy?

  • avatar
    moedaman

    Well if a guy is smart and knows what he’s doing, he’ll still be smart and know what he’s doing no matter what he’s doing. Let’s be honest, the lifer “car guys” that ran GM before didn’t do such a hot job themselves. Tim Cook would probably learn the car business pretty quickly and correctly (i.e. minus the lifer hubris) and run GM far better than the endless line-up of previous idiots did.

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