Tim Cook becomes a leader

Tim Cook
Photo Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

Tim Cook never wanted to be Apple's CEO: rather, he was thrust into the role by the untimely death of Steve Jobs.

The big picture: It took a while to get here, but Cook is no longer operating in Jobs's long shadow. In fact, he's arguably the most powerful and important CEO on the planet.

  • Cook was an introverted operations guy, not a charismatic outward-facing leader like Jobs.
  • Cook became CEO in August 2011. Now, seven years later, he is becoming visibly comfortable in the position of leading the world's most valuable company.
  • He's pulling no punches when it comes to privacy rights. "Our own information, from the everyday to the deeply personal, is being weaponized against us with military efficiency," he said this week in Europe.
  • He's out and proud. Being gay is "God's greatest gift to me," he told CNN.
  • He's willing to go fight the press, demanding a retraction from Bloomberg for its story about Chinese spy chips.