Why is Apple’s Tim Cook the only openly gay CEO of a major US firm?

“It’s pretty startling that among the chief executives of the 500 biggest US companies only one, Tim Cook of Apple, is openly gay,” Ben Morris reports for BBC News. “His declaration this week that he is “proud to be gay” was hailed as an important moment for the gay community.”

“Campaigners say they know of bosses of other big firms who are gay, but are reluctant to be open about it. They hope Mr Cook’s public acknowledgement will spur them to come ou,” Morris reports. “So what is holding them back?”

“‘Societal views have changed considerably, but that has only really been in the past 10 years,’ says Suki Sandhu, founder of professional network Outstanding,” Morris reports. “Gay people now in their 50s and 60s could have been keeping their sexuality a secret from colleagues for years, perhaps decades. That lengthy secrecy is another reason to maintain their silence. Most business people are ‘squeamish’ about speaking about their personal lives, says Jan Gooding, group brand director of insurance giant Aviva and chair of Stonewall. They would rather be known for their work as professionals than for their sexual orientation, she says.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Russian memorial to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs dismantled after CEO Tim Cook announces he’s gay – November 3, 2014
Apple investors don’t care that Tim Cook is gay – October 31, 2014\
Goldman Sachs CEO: Apple’s Tim Cook coming out as gay ‘will resonate powerfully’ – October 31, 2014
Human Rights Campaign: Tim Cook’s announcement that he is gay will save countless lives – October 30, 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook: ‘I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me’ – October 30, 2014
Apple joins Gay Pride parade in Austin, Texas – September 21, 2014
Apple releases video highlighting employee participation in San Francisco’s LGBT Pride Parade – July 8, 2014
Tim Cook, Apple employees march in LGBT Pride Parade in San Francisco – June 30, 2014
Apple inviting employees to march in annual San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade – May 7, 2014

62 Comments

  1. Would this headline perhaps provide a clue to the answer?: “Russian memorial to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs dismantled after CEO Tim Cook announces he’s gay.”

          1. You’re confusing national boundaries with ethnic groups. The “Ukrainians” in South-Eastern Ukraine who love the Russians….are Russians. The Ukrainians still living in that part of the country don’t love the Russians very much at all.

            1. Not really; there are only about eight million (of twenty million) of ethnic Russians in South-East of Ukraine. Others are Ukrainians by ethnicity, but they have totally different mentality from those who live in Western and Central Ukraine. It comes from their different history, as well as mentality (and the fact that they always used Russian as their primary language).

    1. It’s because only 3-4% of the general population are gay.

      3.5% of 500 = 17.5 potential CEOs who might be gay. No telling if being LGBT also stopped these potential 17.5 from being CEO due to office politics, discrimination, interests that lie outside of climbing the ladder of business, (dare I say it?) AIDS deaths that took them before they made it to being a Fortune 500 CEO), etc.

      Theoretically, if you look at it objectively, there are only 5 or so LGBT CEO’s in the Fortune 500 of which Cook is one.

    1. This exactly.
      I’m not Gay, don’t care to be Gay.

      And I don’t care that Tim Cook is.. Doesn’t bother me at all. Doing his job to place Apple in a position to take over the world, Thats what I care about. (all anyone should really care about)

      1. 1) Apparently both of you care enough to comment about it. More importantly, it is obvious many people care.

        2) Tim didn’t go in the closet, apparently he never was. He was open about people around him, but decided he could help people by going public.

        3) Of course you can announce you are straight. Its not clear to me why you would. It would have to be for different reasons than Tim did, since his announcement was about helping a group of people who have often been discriminated against and that would not apply to straight people. But you should be proud you are straight!

  2. Apple is such a high-profile company, it would be rather hard for Tim Cook to conceal the fact (if he were ever trying to). He might as well admit to it before the news media makes up its own stories like they usually do to defame Apple. Now it’s over and done with like Bendgate. The news media is going to have to dig much harder now to find more negative Apple stories. Apple’s share price continues to rise so I guess there was no harm done from Tim Cook’s revelation.

  3. Cue the jokes:

    Samsung CEO announces he was gay first and will be even more gay in the coming months. Demos new features that appear gay, but provide no real functionality.

    Microsoft CEO announces plan to achieve partial gayness by Q3 2015.

    Walmart CEO leads a consortium of merchants with alternative gay option to Apple Gay.

    Analysts predict slow, but steady gains, with eventual universal acceptance of Apple Gay. World becomes a better place.

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