5 Things You Don't Know About Apple CEO Tim Cook
While the cult of Steve Jobs is on a level all its own, Apple CEO Tim Cook is building quite a legacy himself.
Since taking the helm in 2011, Cook has led the consumer electronics giant to new heights. Under his watch, Apple rolled out new generations of the iPhone, iPad and the iPod, came out with a redesign of the MacBook Pro and moved into new categories with the Apple Pay system and the Apple Watch. The tech behemoth also celebrated the 30th birthday of the Mac and became the first company with a market value above $700 billion.
Known for his pragmatic leadership style, Cook got his undergraduate degree in industrial engineering at Auburn University in 1982 and an MBA from Duke in 1988. The Alabama native began working at Apple in 1998 after a dozen years at IBM and stints at Intelligent Electronics and Compaq. At Apple, he led the Macintosh division and became COO before eventually taking over as CEO.
Cook is also the only openly gay CEO on the Fortune 500 list, having come out to the public in October 2014.
Here are a few things you might not know about Apple's enigmatic leader.
1. He's a super early bird.
Cook generally gets up around 3:45 a.m. His regular routine before arriving at Apple's Cupertino, Calif.-headquarters includes reading and responding to email, going to the gym and making a stop at Starbucks. He sticks to a protein-heavy diet throughout the day.
Got some extra rest for today's event. Slept in 'til 4:30.— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) March 9, 2015
2. He plans to give away all of his money.
Cook, whose net worth is roughly $120 million, told Fortune that he is planning to give 10-year-old nephew's college education. instituted a program that matches employee charitable donations for up to $10,000 a year. He also raises money for multiple sclerosis research, misdiagnosed with the disease in the 90s.
3. He interacts with his employees outside the board room.
Not one to cloister himself away from his colleagues, Cook has been known to sit with his employees in the cafeteria during the lunch hour, while his predecessor would normally eat with Jonathan Ive, the company's chief design officer.
4. He's a diehard college sports fan.
Cook's Twitter handle description reads thusly: "CEO Apple, Fan of Auburn Football and Duke basketball." When demoing the Apple Watch this spring, Cook showed how users can get alerts on the device by checking the latest NCAA scores. And he's also been known to shout Auburn University's "War Eagle" battle cry.
5. He's a big believer in social causes.
An avid outdoorsman, Cook is serious about sustainability and green energy sources. Cook hired the Lisa Jackson, who headed up the Environmental Protection Agency under President Obama to be the company's Environmental Chief. At a shareholder meeting last year, he also notably told investors that "If you only want me to make things, make decisions that have a clear ROI, then you should get out of the stock." He has also been a vocal proponent of anti-discrimination legislation, and for three years running, has auctioned off lunch with him and tickets to an Apple keynote for the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights campaign. Kennedy and Martin Luther King's photos hang in his office.
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Nina Zipkin is a staff writer at Entrepreneur.com. She frequently covers leadership, media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.