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Get to know: Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is happening this week, an event that Apple hosts to showcase updates to their software and technology. You can read some of the latest announcements from this week’s conference here. The keynote speech is delivered by Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook – the man leading one of the biggest companies in the world. Let’s get to know him.

Early Apple 

Prior to his appointment as CEO, Cook had a fundamental role and impact in the earlier years of Apple. Former Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, hired Cook as Senior Vice President for Worldwide Operations with responsibilities including end-to-end management of Apple’s supply chain, sales activities, and service and support in all markets. Jobs tasked Cook with helping him pull Apple from the brink of collapse.  

CEO

Since becoming CEO in 2011, Cook has led Apple through phenomenal growth to make it the largest publicly traded company in the world — the first company to be valued over $1 trillion and then again the first company to be valued over $2 trillion. Under Cook, Apple has increased its donations, initiated large climate change and environmental initiatives, and developed a more active voice on social issues as well as many, many new products and services.

When first appointed, many commentators saw Cook as a ‘boring’ leader compared to the colourfulness of Steve Jobs. 

Values and leadership

Despite holding a powerful position, Cook is known to be quiet and private (think about it, did you know much about Cook before this explainer?) — and that is not by mistake. Privacy is an integral value held by Cook that he brings into his work and leadership. While leading an intensely private life, Cook came out as openly gay in 2014, making him the first gay chief executive of a Fortune 500 company. 

Criticisms

One controversy that Apple faced under Cook’s leadership was  a public dispute with the U.S. Department of Justice. Apple refused to unlock the iPhone belonging to the shooter in the 2015 San Bernardino terrorist attack.

Then there is the antitrust saga with the App Store. Apple has been criticised by competitors and some members of Congress, with critics claiming their management of the App Store is an antitrust violation, and that they wield a monopoly over app distribution on iPhones. 

Apple continues to come under scrutiny for the working conditions within some factories, despite the company’s efforts to address the issue. 

What’s next? 

Cook earlier this year stated that he does not see himself as CEO of Apple in 10 years time. However, as Apple continues to be one of the biggest companies in the world, Cook’s decisions will continue to be scrutinised as governments look into big tech companies.

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