Yup, this week’s honoree goes beyond a single individual and encompasses an entire company. Not so much because the outfit is gay, gay-friendly, supports gay causes, or is popular among the gay folk of the world; though it is. But rather because it’s new CEO plays for our team. Not officially, but that’s the word.
Maybe that doesn’t sound like a biggy, but considering that Apple Computers recently became the biggest company on the stock exchange, we’re talking a real power house in the business world being run by a gay man. Or ay least by a ‘confirmed bachelor’.
This week, Steve Jobs resigned as the head of Apple, though he requested to remain Chairman of the Board. He also requested that Tim Cook be named President of the company. And a request from Steve Jobs is akin to the word of god. Cook has been Jobs’ right hand man at Apple for the last thirteen years and took over operations as interim CEO when Jobs left to treat his pancreatic cancer for six months in 2009.
Cook lives in the glass closet and has never publicly acknowledged his homosexuality. But that didn’t stop Out Magazine from naming Cook as #1 in its Power 50 list of powerful LGBTs in the country, bumping Ellen Degeneres from that spot. Even Apple executives have publicly stated that they would continue to back him if he came out. But stepping through the closet door is a personal decision. Even though every news story announcing his rise to the top spot at Apple made at least a cursory mention of his sexuality, making it official is Cook’s choice. That he has kept his preference for men out of the spotlight suggests that he will continue to do the same as CEO.
The 50-year-old former COO of Apple, a workaholic and a fitness nut, has been described as the genius behind Jobs and a key to the success of Apple’s operations. He joined Apple in 1998 as senior vice president of operations, overseeing computer manufacturing after a brief stint as VP for Corporate Materials at Compaq and working in PC logistics for 12 years at IBM. With this promotion, Cook takes over the second most valuable company in the world in terms of market capitalization.
Within the company, Cook is known to be the first in and last to leave work daily. He also has a rep for silently eviscerating underlings with one look, a trait many gay men have perfected. That he prefers men is an open secret, as is that that preference leans towards Asian guys.
Should Cook decide to make the announcement, he’ll join Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes, Google Product Management Director of Search Properties Ben Ling, Microsoft’s openly lesbian HR chief Lisa Brummel, and Google’s vice president of new business development Megan Smith as the most powerful openly gay executives in the world of tech. Which these days pretty much means the entire world.