“Tim Cook’s declaration on Thursday that ‘I’m proud to be gay’ made him the first publicly gay chief executive of a Fortune 500 company,” James B. Stewart reports for The New York Times. “But Mr. Cook isn’t just any chief executive. And Apple isn’t any company. It’s one of the most profitable companies in the Fortune 500 and ranks No. 1 on the magazine’s annual ranking of the most admired companies.”

“As Lloyd Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, put it, ‘He’s chief executive of the Fortune One. Something has consequences because of who does it, and this is Tim Cook and Apple. This will resonate powerfully,'” Stewart reports. “Trevor Burgess, the openly gay chief executive of C1 Financial in Florida, and one of the first publicly gay chief executives of a public company, said Tim Cook used ‘the metaphor of laying a brick on the ‘path towards justice.” But, ‘This is more like 600 million bricks,’ Mr. Burgess said. ‘He has the most influential voice in global business.'”

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook

“Although Mr. Cook and Mr. Blankfein are professionally close (they were together in China last week), and Mr. Blankfein has publicly championed gay rights, they had never discussed Mr. Cook’s sexual orientation,” Stewart reports. “‘I don’t talk about my sexual predilections, and if anybody asked it would be jarring,’ Mr. Blankfein said. ‘No one owes the public such a deep view of his personal life. People underestimate how hard this is. But someone had to be first. For Tim, this was a commitment to make life easier and better for others. It was a generous and courageous thing to do.'”

Read more in the full article here.

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