Ten years ago this week, Tim Cook was named CEO of Apple. Before joining Apple in 1998, Tim spent 12 years at IBM steadily climbing the corporate ladder at their research facility in North Carolina becoming a master of the technology manufacturing process. After putting in his time at IBM, in 1994 Tim finally landed that next-level career opportunity. In 1994 Tim was poached by a Denver-based company called Intelligent Electronics. His new job came with a signing bonus, equity and a base salary of $250,000.
In 1998 Intelligent Electronics was acquired by General Electric. Tim did not stick around after the acquisition. In October of 1997, Tim was hired to be Vice President for corporate materials at Compaq.
A few months into his time at Compaq, Tim met Steve Jobs. At the time Apple was circling the drain. Apple’s annual revenue at this point was around $6 billion, which was a 50% drop from a few years earlier. The company was literally one bad product release away bankruptcy.
Compaq, on the other hand, was a stable, blue-chip tech powerhouse at the peak of its success.
Against all common sense, on March 11, 1998 – just SIX months after accepting the Compaq job- Tim became Apple’s Vice President for worldwide operations. He was personally recruited away from Compaq by Jobs. The Apple position came with a $500,000 signing bonus and a $400,000 base salary.
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