Apple announced a chief operating officer today.
The chief operating officer, now a clear number two at the company, is Senior Vice President Jeff Williams, a long-time trusted lieutenant of Chief Executive Tim Cook.
Mr. Williams, who joined Apple in 1998, oversees its massive supply chain and operations, has been expanding his role, including overseeing the development of the Apple Watch.
“Jeff is hands-down the best operations executive I’ve ever worked with,” Cook said in a statement announcing the move along with several other promotions and executive changes.
Both men trained as engineers, got business degrees from Duke University, spent time early in their careers at IBM (IBM) and then joined Apple on the operations and manufacturing side. Both men are also known for their sharp memories, attention to detail — and height.
A senior executive at the company, who declined to be identified, said the move isn’t necessarily a sign that Mr. Williams is the heir apparent to Mr. Cook, who is 55, and largely formalizes a role that Mr. Williams has been playing inside the company.