Entertainment » Culture

LGBT History Month Profiles: Tim Cook

by Mike Halterman
Sunday Oct 27, 2013

Tim Cook (Born November 1, 1960)

Tim Cook was born and raised in the town of Robertsdale, Alabama, in the southwest part of the state. His father was a shipyard worker at the Port of Mobile. Cook was a graduate of Robertsdale High School, and earned his bachelor's degree from Auburn University and his MBA from Duke University.

Before joining Apple, Cook worked at Intelligent Electronics, for 12 years at IBM heading the department of "North American Fulfillment," and later at Compaq. By the time Cook was employed with Compaq, his performance caught the eye of Steve Jobs over at Apple. In 1998, Cook defected from Compaq and started work with Apple, holding the initial job title of Senior Vice President for Worldwide Operations.

Cook impressed Steve Jobs right away and he was quickly groomed as his heir apparent. When Jobs was diagnosed with a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor in 2003, which necessitated surgery the next year, Jobs named Cook the acting CEO. Cook served as CEO for two months while Jobs underwent surgery and recovered from it. Cook moved up the ladder to take the job of Chief Operating Officer in 2007, and he temporarily took over operations of Apple yet again when Steve Jobs needed a liver transplant in 2009.

At the beginning of 2011, Jobs took a third leave of absence, naming Cook acting CEO another time. When Jobs realized his health was not going to improve, he resigned and became Chairman of the Board, paving the way for Cook to become the new permanent CEO in August 2011. In March 2012, Cook held his first public product unveiling (a trademark of his predecessor), in which he introduced the updated Apple TV and the new iPad with retina display. Since then, Cook has overseen the development and release of products such as the iPhone 5 and its variants, iOS 6 and iOS 7, and the iPad Mini.

Cook has been named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME Magazine, and has led Out Magazine's Power 50 list for three years running. Infamously reclusive, he appeared very uncomfortable in his first 60 Minutes profile as CEO, which aired in 2012. While it has become an "open secret" that Cook is gay, so much so that he was named to Equality Forum's LGBT Icons list and the aforementioned Out Magazine lists, he has never discussed his personal life in the media.


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