Industry leading CEO’s rarely receive the attention they deserve, whether positive or negative. Save for a few well-known industry game changers, CEO’s remain largely unseen and work behind a product or company among total anonymity. A great CEO can bring a lot to a company, while a bad one can single-handedly send it crashing down. Here is a look at who is heading the charge at today’s most relevant consumer cellular tech companies. Some you know, and some you don’t, but they all bring something to the table.
Apple – Tim Cook
Perhaps the most well known member of this list, Tim Cook took over as Apple’s CEO after the death of Apple Co-Founder Steve Jobs in October of 2011. Timothy Donald Cook has been an Apple employee since March of 1998 when he joined as Senior Vice President of Worldwide Operations. He also held the position of Executive Vice President of Worldwide Operations as well as COO before taking over the day-to-day operations at Apple in January of 2011, amid Jobs illness. While playing an integral part in the rebirth and subsequent explosive growth of Apple Computers and later Apple Inc, Cook is known for a softer managing style than the riotous Steve Jobs. Tim Cook has been responsible for major changes to Apple executive team and has been working to create a more harmonious culture at Apple. This included the firing of prominent Apple executive Scott Forstall, which proved a point that Tim Cook would not tolerate un-agreeable and combative people, even those whom Jobs held close.
Samsung – Boo-Keun Yoon
Boo-Keun Yoon is the current President and CEO of the South Korean technology giant Samsung Electronics. He was appointed President and CEO in 2012 and has since begun to outline his vision for the future of our connected world, not limited to smartphones. He is referred to within Samsung as “Mr. TV,” owing to the five enormous televisions surrounding his desk at Samsung headquarters office in Suwon just south of Seoul. He has a further 6 monitors displaying financial information as well at all times. Yoon joined Samsung in 1978 and has been largely responsible for the controlling presence in the television industry that Samsung holds since he took over the visual display division 2007. He has been a front-runner on several key projects including “smart” TVs, transition to LED, and 3-D displays. Yoon has spoken repeatedly on his hope for a future full of “smart homes” controlled by our smartphones. “The technology we see in our homes today is only the beginning,” he has said. “The change ahead will be much, much more dramatic. It will come at a speed we can barely imagine.”
HTC – Peter Chou
A true original, Peter Chou and Cher Wang founded HTC in 1997, beginning with the manufacturing of laptop computers, and moving on to touch and wireless devices in 1998. Today Chou leads a company that generated $6.75 billion in revenue for 2013 and currently holds 6.1% of the smartphone market in the United States. It is purported That Chou played an integral part in the design of the HTC One M8, even carrying around an M8 shaped block of wood in his pocket in order to work on the design. Chou’s background in product management brings a more hands on approach to this position, though he can be known as abrasive.
Huawei – Ren Zhengfei
Ren Zhengfei is an interesting character indeed. He has served as the CEO of Huawei since he founded it in 1987. He is an ex-military officer and has been a member of the Communist Party of China since 1978. His ties to the communist party have actually led to a number of security concerns in India and Great Britain. Great Britain’s Intelligence and Security Committee went so far as to suggest the removal of Huawei hardware for fear of spying.
BlackBerry – John Chen
After changing CEO three times in 12 months, BlackBerry assigned John Chen as CEO in November of 2013. He has since then been tasked with focusing the companies direction, strategies, and trying to earn renewed relevance for the struggling phone manufacturer previously known as Research in Motion. Chen had a history of turning around companies from the brink of death, as he had done with Sybase. He was responsible for their re-invention as well as their jump in growth rate and innovation. He led Sybase to profitability once again, and saw it through 55 consecutively profitable quarters before it was acquired by SAP AG in 2010. It was obvious from his appointing that BlackBerry had hired him for his unique background with struggling companies.
Microsoft – Satya Nadella
A new face on the block but non-the-less one that should be noticed is Satya Nadella, who just recently took over for Steve Ballmer as CEO of Microsoft. He joined the computer company in 1992 because he “knew he wanted to build things” and had decided early on that computer science was his future. He has become only the third CEO in Microsoft history as Ballmer obviously followed Microsoft founder Bill Gates after his retirement. At Microsoft Nadella played an integral part in the shift towards and adoption of cloud computing. While having only been in the position since February, he has already held lay offs and overseen a number of acquisitions.
CEO’s and the Companies They Serve
A CEO can truly make or break a company and their future. They are who the rest of the executives, and a company’s work force as a whole look to for representation of the company, and as someone looking out for the best interests of all involved. CEO’s have the opportunity to serve as inspiration for innovation and often are a deciding point for investors and analysts looking to guess a company’s future or lack there off.
Not everyone can be a Steve Jobs or a Bill Gates, but never count out a CEO when considering your position on a company and their trajectory.