John Ternus Could Replace Tim Cook As Apple CEO, Report Says

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been at the head of the company since Steve Jobs stepped down in 2011, and he’s getting ready to turn 64 himself later this year.

That suggests that he won’t be at the helm for too many more years and it seems plans are afoot for his successor.

Saying that there’s no suggestion that a change is imminent, Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman reports that John Ternus could be the man to take over if and when Cook decides that it’s time to retire. If it were to happen soon, it’s believed that Jeff Williams, current Chief Operating Officer, would take over. But it’s likely that the change won’t happen for a while, and Williams himself isn’t getting any younger.

But Williams, who’s 61 this year, is only two years Cook’s junior, and company insiders say they think it’s now unlikely he’ll be the new long-term chief. Apple’s board would probably want an executive who, like Cook and Jobs, would stick around for at least a decade. “If you asked me five years ago, it was very clear Jeff was leading the pack to become CEO,” says one longtime Apple executive. “But the slowness to refresh the C-suite leaves a problem with who you can bring on board.”

Cook is thought to want to remain Apple CEO for another three years or so, and it’s thought that Ternus would be the one to take over afterward.

Ternus is well-liked inside Apple, and he’s earned the respect of Cook, Williams and other leaders. “Tim likes him a lot, because he can give a good presentation, he’s very mild-mannered, never puts anything into an email that is controversial and is a very reticent decision-maker,” says one person close to Apple’s executive team. “He has a lot of managerial characteristics like Tim.”

There’s still plenty of time for any of this to change of course, and there are tons of new Apple products to be announced before then. Bit Cook and the rest of the Apple executive team wouldn’t be doing their jobs if plans weren’t already being made — and it seems clear that’s exactly what’s happening.

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