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Apple CEO Tim Cook profiled as a tough, no-nonsense leader

A Reuters profile offers a few insights into Cook's management style. He's methodical but can be demanding -- skewering employees with a sentence, says a source.

Apple CEO Tim Cook is a methodical and no-nonsense kind of leader. CNET

Tim Cook doesn't like to talk about himself or reveal any of the inner workings of Apple's operations. There has been a rumor of late that the Apple board of directors is concerned about the pace of change at the company. After a year, Apple is about to reveal new iPhones, which will provide answers about Cook's ability to continue Steve Jobs' track record of hit products.

Against this background, a  Reuters profile published Thursday offers a few insights into Cook's management style and personality.

Reuters reports that Cook prefers to delegate authority, unlike his predecessor, and that his style is methodical and no-nonsense. With his deep background in operations and logistics, and his mastery of details as evident in his performances during Apple's quarterly earnings calls, that is no surprise.

Cook can also be tough, Reuters reports. "He could skewer you with a sentence," a person familiar with Cook's meetings told Reuters. "He would say something along the lines of 'I don't think that's good enough' and that would be the end of it and you would just want to crawl into a hole and die."

That sounds more like Steve Jobs or any CEO who sets high standards. Beth Fox, a recruiting consultant and former Apple employee told Reuters, "It is not as crazy as it used to be. It is not as draconian." She added that the people she knows are staying put. "They like Tim. They tend to err on the optimistic side."

It seems that Apple may have cooperated to some extent with Reuters on the story. Apple board members rarely have anything to say in public about the company, but board member and Disney CEO Bob Iger was quoted about the "very, very difficult role" Cook took on in succeeding Steve Jobs.

"I think he's done so with a deft hand, a strong sense of himself," Iger said. "With that comes a real self-honesty that he is who he is, and not what the world expects him to be, or what Steve was. And I like that.