Apple CEO Tim Cook, who succeeded the tech legend Steve Jobs three years ago, has come out of the cover given by his predecessor to take his own rightful space in Apple history and the world tech movement. He was soon appreciated by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella too.
In a write-up published by Bloomberg Businessweek, Cook sais he was gay but but hoped that he could help other LGBT community by coming forward. “While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.”
With his daring declaration, Cook has joined few US CEOs who have openly admitted that they are gay such as former American Eagle Outfitters CEO Robert Hanson, who now leads jewelry company John Hardy, while many remain secretive. However, he is the first CEO of a Fortune 500 company to publicly admit himself as gay.
In fact, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said on Twitter that he was “inspired” by Cook. Another to join him was Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and its Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg who appreciated his move to go public. “Thank you Tim for showing what it means to be a real, courageous and authentic leader,” Zuckerberg wrote.
Cook also thanked many people at Apple who are aware of his sexual orientation and do not appear to have treated him any differently. He said he is proud to work for such a tolerant company. On its part, the Apple’s board of directors said it stands behind the declaration of Cook.
Art Levinson, chairman of Apple’s board, said, “Tim has our wholehearted support and admiration in making this courageous personal statement… His decision to speak out will help advance the cause of equality and inclusion far beyond the business world.”
Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of the gay rights group GLAAD, said, “When people who are highly regarded and well-respected come out, they change hearts and minds.” A Deloitte report released in 2013 said 83% of LGBT workforce mask their identities at work.