An extensive profile of Apple's executive vice president of operations Tim Cook, who ran Apple while CEO Steve Jobs was sick last year, has appeared.

A former Compaq executive, Cook has become a key person at the centre of the most senior level of Apple management, looking after operations for the whole company.

Apple describes Cook's role as: "Leading the global sales and operations organization that is responsible for the end-to-end management of Apple's supply chain, sales activities, and service and support in all markets and countries."

The company adds: "He plays a key role in the continued development of strategic reseller and supplier relationships and flexibility in response to an increasingly demanding marketplace."

He's now seen as the company's "heir-apparent", should Jobs ever leave Apple, the profile report claims.

Cook has power and autonomy

Even though Apple would most likely seek a new CEO outside the company if Jobs were ever to leave (which appears unlikely), Cook would hold the reigns while the new leader settled in.

He is described as one of only two Apple executives (other than Jobs) to have both "significant" corporate power and "actual" autonomy. The other executive sharing such status is Apple's chief financial officer, Peter Oppenheimer.

Apple's other high-flying executives are described as: "A very capable bunch, and they definitely control and influence portions of the company, but they are often just conduits for Steve's vision".

"In person Tim Cook is tall, gaunt and quiet, but very commanding," the report states. "He has the kind of hushed, intense voice that carries to the back corners of a large room," it adds.

The Apple number two is characterized as a manager who doesn't remember his staff's names: "He's not a people person". He's also described as being "notoriously quick" to sack poor performers.

The report concludes Cook "exudes competence and commitment".