Tim Cook: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Tim Cook-Facts Getty

Tim Cook discusses the new iPhone at Apple's first special event in September 2017

Prior to the unveiling of the new generation of iPhone, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tim Cook took a moment to discuss Apple’s part in hurricane relief efforts. Cook announced that Apple has donated $5 million to Hand in Hand, a nationally televised benefit fundraiser, and another $5 million to the American Red Cross.

Since taking over as CEO of Apple, Cook has encouraged philanthropy as a main goal for the company. Under his leadership, Apple, Inc. recently recorded record third-quarter revenue and reported that they’ve donated more than $150 million to various charities.

Before working at Apple, Cook graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and later went on on to obtain an M.B.A. from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. He began working for Apple in 1998 as Chief Operating Officer.

Here’s what you need to know:


1. Despite rumors, Cook is not Running for President

On a recent tour of Apple facilities in Texas, Iowa and Ohio, Cook divulged his thoughts about government shortcomings, leading to rumors that Cook is gearing up for a presidential campaign in 2020.

Cook spent a Thursday, August 31 in the midwest on a campaign-like trail, according to USA Today. Cook began the morning in an Ohio Apple supplier’s factory thanking employees and hinting at a prosperous future.

In June 2017 the tech, science, and design website Gizmodo reported that Cook “absolutely wants to run for president,” stating that he has his platform ready. The report focused on an interview conducted by Bloomberg Businessweek where Cook discussed his stances on employment, education and global trade.

When Cook headlined a news conference beside Iowa’s Gov. Kim Reynolds, the rumor mill picked up. This lead to a headline asking if he is running for president on Need to Know Network, a site run by Republican operatives, according to Politico.

“You’ve got to be kidding,” Cook told the Des Moines Register when asked about a possible presidential campaign.


2. Cook is the First Fortune 500 CEO to be Openly Gay

On October 30, 2014, Tim Cook publicly acknowledged that he is gay, becoming the first Fortune 500 CEO to do so.

In his column in Businessweek, Cook said that he tried to maintain privacy, but that stopped him from working for the benefit of others. He said he does not consider himself an activist and that many of his coworkers already knew of his sexuality.

“Where I value my privacy significantly, I felt that I was valuing it too far above what I could do for the people,” Cook said in an interview with Time.

Cook explained that he felt a “tremendous responsibility” to come out publicly, citing bullying in schools and discrimination in the workforce. He said his decision to speak up was inspired by a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. quote, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

After Cook made his announcement, eyes looked to the stock market to see any effect it may have had on Apple’s stock. That week, Apple’s stocks remained mostly unchanged.


3. He is Helping With Hurricane Harvey and Irma Relief Efforts

After Hurricane Harvey made landfall, Apple began accepting donations through iTunes to support the American Red Cross and relief efforts. Since then, Apple has donated over $10 million to hurricane relief funds to offer assistance in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and Irma.

Soon after relief efforts started, Cook sent an email to all Apple employees regarding hurricane relief. In the email, Cook said Texas is a home for more than 8,700 Apple employees and acknowledged that the effects of the storm would be felt by everyone at Apple.

“I was in Austin the day before Harvey came ashore, and the team was already bracing for the storm and long recovery,” he wrote in the email. “Today that work continues.”

In the email, Cook outlined donation drives and other ways Apple employees can help with relief efforts.


4. Cook Once Confronted the Ku Klux Klan in his Hometown

Cook’s activism began in Robertsdale, Alabama, the small town where he grew up. On his way home one night in the early 1970s, he saw Klansmen preparing to burn a cross in the yard of an African American family. He shouted “Stop!” and the group told him to leave. In a speech in 2013, Cook recalled the incident and said it was permanently in his brain and changed his life forever.

Cook was born November 1, 1960 to Geraldine and Donald Cook. His mother worked in a pharmacy and his father was a shipyard worker. In 1971, they relocated to Robertsdale, a town that his mother described as a “hole in the ground” with a population of 2,300.

Because the town had no real entertainment for teenagers, school was the main focus of their lives. Cook excelled in school, serving as the business manager for his high school yearbook and graduating in 1978 as the class salutatorian. Classmates remember Cook as being studious and reliable.

One former classmate, Rick Ousley, said Cook has offended some people in his hometown by funding LGBTQ rights initiatives and criticizing Alabama for its lack of progress.

“That was really offensive to a lot of people down here,” he said, regarding the comments reported in an article in The Washington Post.


5. He Plans to Give Away all his Money After Paying for his Nephew’s College Education

Apple CEO Tim Cook Code.org

Tim Cook visits Hour of Code, which teaches students of all background how to program

In 2015, Cook told Fortune magazine that he would donate his money to charity after he paid for his 10-year-old nephew’s college education. At the time, he had over $665 million in restricted stock. He told Fortune that he is already donating money to causes and is trying to take an approach to philanthropy that goes beyond just writing a check.

According to Celebrity Net Worth, Cook is worth $400 million. He has a 2,400 square-foot home in Palo Alto, California that he purchased in 2010 for $1.9 million. In a press conference early this year, he talked about how his house was automated. When he says “Good Morning, Siri,” the lights turn on and his coffee starts brewing. According to Forbes, the house next door was listed for sale for $2.9 million in 2014 after being bought for $1.9 in 2011, which may mean Cook’s house is also worth more now than it was a few years ago.

According to a 2016 report by Forbes, Cook took home $8.7 million that year. In 2015, he brought home $10.28 million. Apple uses performance-based compensation for executives based on milestones approved by the board of trustees.

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