CUPERTINO, Calif. » Apple named supply chain and operations boss Jeff Williams as chief operating officer today, elevating Williams to a post that potentially gives him the inside track as heir apparent to Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook.
At present, Williams oversees Apple’s far-reaching supply chain and operations.
“Jeff (Williams) is hands-down the best operations executive I’ve ever worked with,” Cook said.
Prior to being named as chief operating officer, Williams, who has been with the company since 1998, also has been adding tasks such as heading the development of the Apple Watch.
“Williams had been doing the COO job already, essentially,” said Rob Enderle, an Oregon-based analyst who tracks the technology sector. “Apple was able to ease him into the COO job.”
The post of COO had been vacant ever since Cook left that role to become CEO in 2011.
“If we presume that Cook runs it like Steve Jobs did and the No. 2 person is the COO, that would suggest that Williams is the heir apparent,” Enderle said.
Williams becomes the fourth C-level executive at Apple. The others are Cook, Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri and Chief Design Officer Jony Ive.
The Cupertino-based company also announced that Philip Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing, will expand his role to include leadership of the company’s App Store across all Apple platforms.
“Apple is more successful than Google at monetizing its app stores,” Enderle said. “By putting a marketing guy at the head of the App Store means that it looks like Apple wants to preserve that advantage. That’s pretty smart.”