Tim Cook’s right-hand man reportedly in China dealing with PR crisis

jeff williams

Apple’s Executive Profile page lists Jeff Williams as the Senior Vice President of Operations. But according to people inside the company, he’s much more important than that. Some folks even refer to him as “Cook’s right-hand man.”

So it should come as no surprise that, according to a new report, Williams is in Beijing this week dealing with Apple’s major PR fallout in China, after taking severe criticism in recent weeks over its warranty practices in the country…

M.I.C. gadget points to the report from a Chinese newspaper (via MacRumors):

“According to the report from China tech site, Apple dispatched its op-chief Jeff Williams in Beijing to deal with the PR crisis in China…

…Last year, while Tim Cook first visited to China as the company’s CEO, Williams was with him to meet the Chinese officers from Minister of Commerce. So as we can see Williams is playing an important role in the company right now, he is CEO Tim Cook’s right hand man.”

Apple’s after-sale service came under fire recently when the state-run TV network CCTV ran a special highlighting its customer service issues. This sparked what seemed like an “anti-Apple” movement in the country from millions of users.

The issue at heart was that some folks believed Apple was providing Chinese customers with worse after-sale service than it does in other countries. For example, replacing Chinese goods with recycled components instead of new ones.

The criticism was apparently significant enough that Apple posted a letter from Tim Cook to its Chinese website earlier this month, apologizing for any misunderstandings regarding its warranty polices, and promising to make needed changes.

tim cook and jeff williamsJeff Williams and Tim Cook with China’s Vice Minister of Commerce 

And it seemed like the people of China accepted the apology, but Apple obviously still felt the need to send Williams in to help solidify its message. I guess when it comes to the world’s largest smartphone and tablet market, you can’t be too cautious.

But what I find more interesting is the way Jeff Williams is being talked about here. He joined Apple in 1998, and according to his bio page, he essentially took over Tim Cook’s role in operations in 2010 as Cook took on more day-to-day CEO stuff.