How Steve Jobs Surprised Tim Cook In 2011 By Asking Him To Be CEO

Steve jobsJustin Sullivan/Getty ImagesTim Cook suspected he might become Apple’s CEO, but he had no idea it would happen when it did.

In an interview with CBS News’ Charlie Rose, Apple CEO Tim Cook was effusive — especially about his predecessor, Steve Jobs.

In the interview, Rose prodded Cook about the expectations surrounding his role as Apple’s CEO.

“There was the question,” said Rose. “Steve was a visionary — Can Tim continue the Apple tradition of creating new products every four years or less? Can he reach into the future?”

Cook answered Rose by explaining how Jobs had asked him to be CEO in August 2011.

By that time Jobs’ health had deteriorated. He was living at home while Cook served as an interim-CEO.

So when Jobs called Cook and asked him to come over, he knew it was important.

But he didn’t know what Jobs had in mind.

“And he told me — he said, ‘I’ve been thinking a lot. Apple has never had a professional transition at CEO. I’m determined that we will have one now. I want you to be the CEO.’ And honestly, I didn’t see it coming,” said Cook.

Cook was taken aback by Jobs’ timing.

“I always knew it was his long-term thinking,” he said. “That I would become the CEO. But not then.”

Cook told Rose that Jobs knew he was not picking a carbon copy of himself to lead Apple into the future.

“But, in terms of being everything he was, I’ve never had that objective,” said Cook. “I’ve never had the objective of being like him, because I knew, the only person I can be is the person I am.”

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