There is no true preparation for replacing a legend, but that’s what Tim Cook had to do three-and-a-half years ago following the death of Steve Jobs. Cook has led Apple so strongly, including in some surprising directions, that he has earned the No. 1 spot on Fortune’s list of the World’s Greatest Leaders. Apple’s stock has hit all-time highs, in Apple Pay and the Apple Watch the company has shown its continued appetite for innovation, and it is gradually becoming more open and outspoken, including on a variety of non-corporate social issues. By announcing that he is gay, Cook also has done something few would have predicted: become a global role model.
Timothy Donald “Tim” Cook (born November 1, 1960) is an American business executive, and is the chief executive officer of Apple Inc. Cook joined Apple in March 1998 as senior vice president of worldwide operations—he also served as executive vice president of worldwide sales and operations and was chief operating officer until he was named the CEO of Apple on August 24, 2011, when he succeeded Steve Jobs. He had previously served as acting CEO of Apple after Jobs began medical leave in January 2011. In early 2012, he was awarded compensation of one million shares, vesting in 2016 and 2021, by Apple’s board of directors. Cook also serves on the boards of directors of Nike, Inc. and the National Football Foundation. In 2014, Cook became the first CEO of a Fortune 500 company to publicly identify as gay.