Fortune profiles Jeff Williams, Apple’s senior vice president for operations
As Steve Jobs stepped back from his role as Apple’s AAPL larger-than-life frontman, a handful of senior executives emerged from his oversized shadow: Jony Ive, the soft-spoken industrial design wizard. Phil Schiller, the self-effacing marketing chief. Scott Forestall, the boyish head of iPhone and iPad software. And of course Tim Cook, the man who really ran Apple, now elevated to CEO.
In its Sept. 26 issue, Fortune puts the spotlight on Jeff Williams, the senior vice president for operations that writer-reporter JP Mangalindan calls Tim Cook’s Tim Cook.
Below: An excerpt from Mangalindan’s profile:
One of new CEO Tim Cook’s most trusted lieutenants, Williams, 48, essentially does a big chunk of what Cook did when he was chief operating officer. Williams manages the company’s vast supply chain and production process, including overseeing Apple’s relationship with supplier Foxconn, which churns out iPad 2 tablets and other fare from its facility in Chengdu, China. He negotiates supplier deals, keeps production going, and makes sure devices get where they need to be, when they need to be there — all while keeping costs down and without sacrificing quality.
A health-minded cyclist (like Cook), Williams is known as an intensely private, salt-of-the-earth kind of guy. According to Apple lore he drove around in a beat-up Toyota with a broken passenger-side door even after he was appointed to management. Those who know him say he’s even-keeled and direct, a good coach who will go over a problem with employees, explain what they need to do better, and move on.