With the resignation of Apple CEO Steve Jobs, publicly outed Tim Cook will take the top seat at the tech company and become, arguably, the most powerful out gay person in the world of technology.
Cook has been running the day-to-day operations of Apple since 1998 and served as the chief operating officer. When rumors began circulating that Jobs would resign due to health concerns, Cook’s name was often mentioned as his most likely replacement. Jobs himself backed Cook’s ascension to the company’s top position.
Out magazine placed Cook to the number 1 spot in its “Power 50” in May, ousting lesbian talk-show host and actress, Ellen DeGeneres, to the second position. However, Cook has not been extremely open about his sexuality and was outed by the online news site Gawker, who quoted several anonymous sources that claimed he had a tendency to be attracted to Asian men.
Cook was already arguably one of the most influential openly gay people involved in the tech industry, but his new position places him above others, including Megan Smith, vice president of new business development at Google, Lisa Brummel, Microsoft’s head of human resources, and others.
His sexuality doesn’t seem to be an issue in his appointment and the board of directors recently released a press release praising Cook and lauding his credentials.
“The board has complete confidence that Tim is the right person to be our next CEO,” Art Levinson, chairman of Genentech, on behalf of the board, said in a statement. “Tim’s 13 years of service to Apple have been marked by outstanding performance, and he has demonstrated remarkable talent and sound judgment in everything he does.”
Apple is ranked 35 in the Fortune 500 listings and was rated as the most admired company in the world in 2008, 2009 and 2010. The company has annual sales of more than $65 billion.