Tim Cook became the chief executive officer of Apple in August of 2011 after the death of founder and CEO Steve Jobs. His path to becoming the head of one of the largest and most recognizable companies in the world was a long one full of hard work and dedication in the technology industry.

Cook graduated from Auburn University in 1982 with a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering and earned his MBA from Duke University in 1988. After graduate school, Cook took a job with IBM, where he spent 12 years and ultimately became the director of the North American fulfillment. After a short stint at Compaq, Cook joined Apple in 1998 and became the chief operating officer (COO) in 2007, where he remained until his promotion to CEO in 2011.

At the beginning of Cook's tenure at the company, Apple was struggling to keep up with other computer giants, such as Microsoft and Dell. However, soon after he arrived things began to look up. Apple began to expand its influence abroad and reach further into international markets. The company was also preparing to release a new line of products that the world had yet to be exposed to in the late 1990s. The iPod and iMac were about to be released, followed by a series of computers, phones, tablets and endless accessories that made Apple the international technology powerhouse it is today. Cook's contribution to this expansion and growth came in his role as the head of Apple's Macintosh division and as a reseller and supplier strategist.