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Apple’s Evolution: From Steve Jobs To Tim Cook

Under Cook's leadership, Apple became the first $3 trillion public company, rewarding shareholders with 1,317.8% returns.

What is now the most valuable public company in the world, technology giant Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) has evolved through several different CEOs and product releases.

One of its most-watched transitions may have been the passing of the torch from co-founder Steve Jobs to present CEO Tim Cook.

What Happened?

On August 24, 2011, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs announced he was stepping down from the company.

The move marked the end of an era that saw Jobs serve in many roles for the company since its creation, including leading the company as CEO from 1997 to 2011.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs holds the new iPhone 4 after he delivered the opening keynote address at the 2010 Apple World Wide Developers conference June 7, 2010 in San Francisco, California. Jobs revolutionized the smartphone market since introducing the iPhone. (JUSTIN SULLIVAN/Benzinga)

While the CEO of the company, Jobs helped usher in an era of product innovation that included the iPod, iTunes, App store, iPad and the iPhone.

Jobs recommended that Apple make Apple COO Tim Cook the company’s next CEO.

The board of directors named Cook the new CEO on August 24, 2011.

Jobs passed away two months later from complications related to pancreatic cancer.

Facing difficult odds following the legacy of Jobs, Cook has helped steer Apple to new heights, growing its services business and continuing to dominate existing product lines. Cook also helped the company grow in new segments such as streaming, Airpods, the Apple Watch and the company’s M1 chip.

Under Cook’s leadership, Apple became the first $2 trillion and the first $3 trillion public company.

While investors and analysts were skeptical of Cook leading the company, shareholders have been pleasantly rewarded.

Apple CEO Tim Cook stands next to the new Apple Vision Pro headset is displayed during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference on June 05, 2023, in Cupertino, California. (JUSTIN SULLIVAN/Benzinga)

Investing $1,000 in Apple Stock

Apple shares traded at $373.52 on August 23, 2011, Jobs’ last day leading the company.

A $1,000 investment at the time Cook took over could have purchased 2.68 shares of Apple.

Apple has held two stock splits in Cook’s time leading the company. Shares split 7-for-1 in June 2014 and 4-for-1 in August 2020. The splits would have turned the 2.68 shares into 75.04 shares.

The $1,000 investment would be worth $14,178.06 today based on a share price of $188.94 for Apple at the time of writing, not including dividends.

A $1,000 investment in Apple under Tim Cook’s leadership as CEO would be up 1,317.8% over the course of nearly 12 years.

Apple is one of the top-performing stocks during the time with Cook as CEO, outperforming the S&P 500. A $1,000 investment in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), which tracks the S&P 500, would be worth $3,748.97 over the same time period. This represents a return of 274.9%.

Produced in association with Benzinga

Edited by Joseph Donald Gunderson and Kyana Jeanin Rubinfeld

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