When someone who used to work for a company starts talking smack about someone who currently leads said company, you have to question their motives. Nevertheless, when a former Apple sales exec has this harsh of an opinion of Apple CEO Tim Cook, it’s interesting.
ReadWrite (formerly ReadWriteWeb) talked to David Sobotta, a former Apple sales exec who left the company in 2004. In his time with the company, he never reported directly to Cook, but he did have plenty of contact with him. Cook joined Apple back in 1998.
According to Sobotta, Cook has plenty of flaws as a leader. Here are some choice quotes from the interview:
On his relationship with employees:
“Well, for starters, Cook is not a people person. He certainly will not stand behind someone if the going gets rough. He is not that kind of guy. I sense no personal loyalty in him, and I suspect employees already understand that.
Tim will react to the numbers or his fear of being wrong quickly. Fear of being wrong is a managerial trait that runs strong and deep in Apple because of the way Steve ran the company. Even the appearance of being wrong when in the end you might be right is dreaded at Apple.”
On his technology acumen:
“Technology-wise, I think Tim Cook is a lightweight. I never felt passion for technology from Tim like I did from Steve and some of the great engineers.”
And on his leadership skills (or lack thereof):
“I would expect that Tim is having a hard time herding the chickens. From what I saw of him, he was something of a loner. He is not a warm guy nor is he the type to go wandering the halls or Caffe Mac to find out what is happening. His preference is to tinker with spreadsheets and numbers. He is not a natural leader. He’s a manager.”
Sobotta says that he doesn’t have any reason to beef with Cook, or Apple as a whole. Just a few weeks ago he published his memoir of his 20 years at Apple, titled “The Pomme Company.”