Apple CEO Tim Cook on Thursday announced in Bloomberg BusinessWeek the news many LGBT people already knew: “I’m gay.”
“For years, I’ve been open with many people about my sexual orientation. Plenty of colleagues at Apple know I’m gay, and it doesn’t seem to make a difference in the way they treat me. Of course, I’ve had the good fortune to work at a company that loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people’s differences. Not everyone is so lucky,” Cook, 53, writes in a first-person essay.
Cook, who succeeded Steve Jobs as Apple CEO in 2011, says that throughout his professional life, “I’ve tried to maintain a basic level of privacy.”
Many LGBT already knew or speculated that Cook is gay. He often appears with other Apple employees at LGBT pride parades.
“Tim Cook’s announcement today will save countless lives,” HRC President Chad Griffin said Thursday. “He has always been a role model, but today millions across the globe will draw inspiration from a different aspect of his life. Tim Cook is proof that LGBT young people can dream as big as their minds will allow them to, whether they want to be doctors, a U.S. Senator, or even CEO of the world’s biggest brand. Apple has consistently fought for the LGBT community and we’re incredibly grateful that today’s announcement will bring even more to their work for equality.”
Earlier this week, Cook spoke of LGBT rights in his home state at the Alabama Academy of Honor induction.
Cook is widely considered the best-known, highest-level corporate executive to come out of the closet.
The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce issued this statement:
“The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, the business voice of the LGBT community, commends Tim Cook for his moving and heartfelt coming out essay. While his story and success are unique, we are proud to say we hear about similar journeys every day from the LGBT Americans, including those who are part of NGLCC. Our goal is to expand economic opportunities and advancements for LGBT people. Tim's words today will help us in that mission. They also serve as an opening of the door for other LGBT CEOs and senior executives to move forward in knowing there is a safe place for them in the business world.”
In June, a co-anchor on CNBC accidentally outed Cook during a panel discussion.
“I think Tim Cook is fairly open about the fact that he’s gay at the head of Apple isn’t he?” Simon Hobbs said on-air to New York Times columnist James Stewart.