Tim Cook is the CEO of Apple, a position he has held since August 2011. Prior to that, he served as Apple's COO.
Cook was born as Timothy Donald Cook in Mobile, Alabama, on November 1, 1960, to parents Geraldine and Don Cook. Geraldine worked at a drug store, and Don worked at a shipyard. Cook has two brothers. The family lived briefly in Mobile, as well as in Pensacola, Florida, but eventually settled in Robertsdale for the remainder of Cook's childhood.
In 1978, Cook graduated from Robertsdale High School as the second-best student in his class. He then attended Auburn University until 1982, when he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering. In 1988, Cook earned a master of business administration at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.
After graduating from Auburn University, Cook began working at IBM, where he stayed for twelve years. By the end of his career there, he was the director of North American Fulfillment, involved in monitoring the manufacturing and distribution activities within North America. He took his next job in 1994, serving as COO of the reseller division at Intelligent Electronics. In 1997, he began working at Compaq as the vice president of corporate materials.
Since Steve Jobs's return to Apple as CEO in 1998, Apple recruiters pursued Cook for a meeting, who turned them down several times before finally accepting to meet Jobs. Apple's economic situation at the time was dire, and the company was facing bankruptcy. Cook later stated in a 2010 commencement speech at Auburn University that "no more than five minutes into my initial interview with Steve, I wanted to throw caution and logic to the wind and join Apple." He knew the risks of leaving his job at Compaq for Apple and was dissuaded from the idea by the people he consulted.
Any purely rational consideration of cost and benefits lined up in Compaq’s favor, and the people who knew me best advised me to stay at Compaq. One CEO I consulted felt so strongly about it he told me I would be a fool to leave Compaq for Apple.
Nevertheless, Cook was inspired by his meeting with Jobs and joined Apple in 1998, with an annual salary of $400,000, plus a $500,000 bonus package. He started as the senior vice president of worldwide operations and also headed the Macintosh division. He became the executive vice president of worldwide sales and operations in 2002, and in 2005, he became Apple's COO.
In 2004, Cook first served as Apple's interim CEO after Jobs was on medical leave following an operation for pancreatic cancer. He did the same in 2009, following Jobs's leave for a liver transplant. Cook took over again in January 2011, then permanently took the position in August when Jobs officially resigned. Jobs died two months later in October.
Since Cook took over the role of CEO in 2011, Apple's market capitalization, annual revenue, and user base have all increased substantially. Before Jobs's departure, Apple's market capitalization was at $353 billion; it reached $2.5 trillion in 2021. Annual revenue went from $108.2 billion to $274.5 billion by September 2020.
Cook is the first Fortune 500 CEO to publicly come out as gay—a decision he made in 2014 to "help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone." Cook is a philanthropist and has stated he plans on donating virtually all of his net worth to charity. As of May 2022, Cook's net worth is $2 billion.
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