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Steve Jobs Calls Again on Alabama Expat

Key man out of Alabama: Apple's Tim Cook

Tim Cook, newly named CEO of Apple.

Tim Cook, newly named CEO of Apple.

Alabama born, Auburn educated Tim Cook took over the reins of Apple Computer Inc. in January, stepping in for Steve Jobs, who is taking a medical leave while being treated for cancer and awaiting a liver transplant.

This is the third time in seven years that Cook, Apple's CEO, has taken over for an ailing Jobs. The last time Cook was at the helm, for six months in 2009, Apple stock rose 70 percent.

As in the past, Jobs remains as CEO but handed over day-to-day operations to Cook. Analysts have speculated that Cook may be the next in line as CEO if Jobs has to give up the top job.  

Cook, 48 years old, was born in Robertsdale, Ala. and graduated from Auburn University in 1982 with an engineering degree. He added an MBA from Duke University.

His career took him from IBM to Compaq Computer in Houston, where he was in 1998 when he got a call from Apple.

"I took the red eye flight out to California on a Friday evening and met with Steve Jobs on an early Saturday morning," Cook told Business Alabama in a 1999 interview. Cook said he made the decision to join Apple — first as senior vice president in charge of worldwide operations, at age 37 — after about five minutes of his interview with Jobs. "Steve (Jobs) is a very compelling person; he has great vision," Cook said. "He needed a manager of operations. I saw this as a chance to participate in a corporate turnaround in one of the best companies in the world."

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