Apple's Tim Cook Is Not Required to Entertain Us

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Ever since Tim Cook assumed the CEO position at Apple (AAPL), there has been grumblings about his speaking style. The complaint is that he's no Steve Jobs. He doesn't have a great personality. He's not charming and articulate. His voice cracks and growls. And he can't seem to generate that special sense of anticipation, with a twinkle in his eyes, that Mr. Jobs was so good at in the past.

This is true. And it doesn't matter.

Leaders have many different styles, and there are many factors that go into being a great leader. Of course, it helps to have a good speaking style, and Steve Jobs is a hard act to follow. However, the complaints I've read seem more focused on the CEO's obligation, as the leader of the most wealthy and valuable tech company, to entertain us in a kind of high school pep-rally fashion.

In other words, if the products fascinate and charm us, then the CEO has an obligation to fascinate and charm us as well.


From my experience, a good analogy is found in the military. Imagine a beloved captain of a U.S. aircraft carrier. He's reassigned and the executive officer, or XO, previously second in command, is promoted to the captain position.

What will the various department heads look at? The commander of the air group, or CAG, will want to make sure the new captain is supremely competent as a naval officer and can manage the ship properly. The CAG wants to be confident that his pilots and aircraft can be effective. The other department heads want to be sure of all that plus, in a critical situation like war or an emergency, that the new captain is well trained, knows what he wants, and will make the best possible decisions in accordance with his obligations.

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