Apple Computer has named Tim Cook, the company's executive VP worldwide sales and operations since 2002, as COO, while Jon Rubinstein, head of the iPod division, will soon retire.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Apple Computer has named Tim Cook, the company's executive VP worldwide sales and operations since 2002, as COO, while Jon Rubinstein, head of the iPod division, will soon retire.

Cook, 44, who took over day-to-day operations during CEO Steve Jobs' recovery from cancer surgery last year, will now essentially become the No. 2 man at the Cupertino, Calif.-based company.

The title of COO was previously unassigned.

"Tim has been doing this job for over two years now, and it's high time we officially recognized it with this promotion," Jobs said in statement.

Cook will continue his duties overseeing worldwide operations and leading the Macintosh division, and he will now work closely with Jobs and the executive team to lead Apple's overall business, Apple said.

Apple also said Rubinstein, senior VP of the iPod division, will retire March 31 and be succeeded by Tony Fadell, VP of iPod engineering.

Cook joined Apple in 1998 as senior VP of operations. Before that, he was a VP at Compaq Computer and spent 12 years with IBM.

Rubinstein, 49, joined Apple in 1997 and was senior VP hardware engineering prior to the creation of the iPod division. Before Apple, Rubinstein was executive VP/COO of FirePower Systems, a maker of PowerPC-based computer systems. He also was VP hardware engineering at NeXT Computer, the company Jobs' founded after leaving Apple in 1985 and which was sold to Apple in 1996 after Jobs' return to Apple's helm.

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