Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook plans to give away all of his wealth to good causes, eschewing the current Silicon Valley penchant for material gain.
Cook, who took over the leadership of Apple just months before Steve Jobs’ death in 2011, has set his own style of leadership and has stubbornly refused to be daunted by Jobs’ legacy, especially by critics who claim that Apple can’t innovate under Cook.
Instead, he has led a cultural shift at Apple, has been outspoken on human rights and environmental issues, come out the only gay CEO in the Fortune 500, encouraged the development of new device categories like the Apple Watch and has overseen significant revenue growth and the soaring of Apple’s value to approaching US$1trn.
Instead of mimicking Jobs’ obsession over every nut and bolt, Cook has been more of a cheerleader, gently but steadily guiding Apple’s product teams and backing their efforts up with a strong and efficiently performing company. He has also guided Apple in the direction of the enterprise, forging vital deals with giants like IBM.
The ripple for change
In an insightful interview with Fortune magazine in which the Apple CEO granted unprecedented access, Cook said he sees the taking of public stands on issues like AIDS, human rights and immigration reform as opportunities for leadership.
“You want to be the pebble in the pond that creates the ripple for change,” Cook said.
After providing for the college education of his 10 year-old nephew, Cook says he plans to give away all of his wealth.
Cook’s net worth, based on holdings of Apple stock is currently about US$120m.
He also holds restricted stock worth US$665m.
Cook said that he has already begun donating money quietly to various causes and charities but plans to take time to develop a systematic approach to philanthropy rather than simply writing cheques.