Power 50: Tim Cook

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Photo Illustration by Thomas Allen

It’s been more than three years since the death of Steve Jobs, and Tim Cook, the man who succeeded him at Apple (now the world’s most valuable company), has finally vanquished his naysayers. The launch of the iPhone 6 last September, and the imminent release of the Apple Watch, have powered the company to unprecedented new highs. That Cook has simultaneously improved Apple’s transparency and invested in sustainability initiatives, such as its solar-powered data center, makes its success all the more impressive. “We do things for other reasons than a profit motive. We do things because they are right and just,” he told one investor critical of Apple’s green initiatives at last year’s annual shareholder meeting. It was right and just, also, that Cook should come out last October, becoming the only openly gay CEO in the Fortune 500. Despite some negative reactions — notably in Russia —the world responded largely with a shrug, and continued its massive love affair with the tech giant. Cook’s diversity initiative extends beyond his own eloquent coming out. He has added three women to Apple’s executive team and altered Apple’s charter in order to commit the company to pursuing women and minorities for the board of directors. That’s progress.

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