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Tim Cook: Stepping into Steve Jobs' Shoes Paid Off Big Time

Capitalism.com
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July 31, 2020

Here's everything you might want to know about this Apple CEO and then some. Learn about Tim Cook and his net worth, education, family, and climb to the top of a tech giant.

The year was 2011 when Tim Cook succeeded his friend and mentor Steve Jobs as CEO of Apple. Saying Cook had big shoes to fill would be an understatement. Jobs was the revered co-founder of the company. He died from a long battle with pancreatic cancer just months after Cook took the helm.

At the time, there were plenty of naysayers who believed Apple was doomed with Jobs' passing. They thought nobody could replicate the innovation that made Apple and its iPhone so successful. Although there were bumps in the road, Tim Cook has proven himself a worthy successor. He's created wins for the company, including a successful Apple Watch product launch. According to Forbes, Apple is currently the ninth-largest public company in the world.

Who is Tim Cook, and what has made him one of the world's most successful and highest-paid CEOs? What is Tim Cook's net worth in 2020?

Let's take a closer look!

How Did Tim Cook Become CEO of Apple? 

Cook was born in Mobile, Alabama, to Donald Cook, a shipyard worker, and Geraldine Cook, a pharmacist. Two brothers, Michael and Gerald, round out the Tim Cook family.

Cook graduated as salutatorian of his class at Robertsdale High School. He earned a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering from Auburn University in 1982. Cook then graduated in the top 10% of his class at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business. There, he earned a Master of Business Administration.

In the years leading up to his Apple career, Cook held a few different positions, including:

  • Director of North American Fulfillment at International Business Machines (IBM)
  • Chief Operating Officer for the Reseller Division at Intelligent Electronics
  • Vice President for Corporate Materials at Compaq Computer

Some say Apple was on the cusp of collapse when Tim Cook joined Apple in 1998. That's when he took on the senior vice president of worldwide operations role. He came on just one year after Steve Jobs had rejoined the company. Jobs personally invited Cook to join him at Apple. Cook admits he decided to leave Compaq and accept Jobs' offer more on his intuition than logic.

Apple CEO

During his speech at Auburn University's commencement in 2010, he reflected on his thought process.

"I listened to my intuition, not the left side of my brain, or for that matter, even the people who knew me best. No more than five minutes into my initial interview with Steve, I wanted to throw caution and logic to the wind and join Apple. My intuition already knew that joining Apple was a once in a lifetime opportunity to work for the creative genius."

Together, they made an unbeatable team. Jobs was the visionary who created new products like the iMac, iPod, and iPhone. Cook streamlined the company's operations and supply chain.

Cook moved Apple's manufacturing away from its own factories to independent contractors to reduce turn-over time for inventory. The combination of innovative, in-demand products and a more efficient supply chain helped keep costs low and profits high.

Cook Moves Up the Ranks

By 2000, Cook took over the role of senior vice president of worldwide operations, sales, and support. Only two years later, he became the executive vice president. When Jobs took a leave of absence in 2004 to treat his pancreatic cancer, Cook served as the interim CEO and chief of the Macintosh division.

Jobs returned to the helm in 2005. Cook became the chief operating officer until 2009 when Jobs took another leave of absence due to declining health. He moved from being the interim CEO to the new CEO in 2011 when Jobs resigned. Jobs died in October 2011.

Cook shared that joining Apple was a turning point in his career and life. "My most significant discovery so far in my life was the result of one decision: My decision to join Apple."

What Does Tim Cook Do?

In addition to being Apple's current CEO, Cook serves on its board of directors. He's a self-proclaimed "workaholic," waking up as early as 3:45 a.m. He spends the first hour of his day reading user comments about Apple products and receives as many as 800 emails daily. Cook claims to read most of them. He's one of the last to leave the office most days.

Cook is a private person who prefers to talk about business than share personal details about his life. But there are a few things we know about his preferences and work habits:

  • The Tim Cook leadership style has given him a reputation as being a demanding boss. He's known for his "no mercy" approach, but also is praised for being a good listener and collaborator.
  • Cook tends to host "marathon meetings," questions everything, and will often email Apple employees at all hours of the day and night.
  • Cook places a priority on fitness and is often out riding his bicycle and hiking. He visits a private gym daily at 5 a.m.
  • To be as productive as possible, Cook relies on his smartphone less and less with the help of the Screen Time feature.
  • In April 2020, CNBC reported that California Governor Newsom named Cook, among others, to a business recovery task force. The goal is to get the economy running and recovering from the economic struggles resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cook also enjoyed a bit of fame Onion-style. The satire website published "Grinning Tim Cook Announces New iPhone Will No Longer Be Compatible with AirPods." 

As if. 

We're sure Cook got a chuckle out of that one! But thanks to the article, Cook enjoyed one of the highest honors of pop-culture. The Onion doesn't poke fun at just anyone, after all.

Cook Recognition and Awards

Tim Cook net worth

Cook has been the recipient of many accolades over the years, including:

  • Financial Times Person of the Year in 2014
  • Ripple of Change Award in 2015
  • Fortune Magazine's: World's Greatest Leader in 2015
  • Alabama Academy of Honor: Inductee in 2015
  • Human Rights Campaign's Visibility Award in 2015
  • Courage Against Hate award from Anti-Defamation League in 2018

How Much Money Does Tim Cook Have?

Curious about Tim Cook's net worth? While Cook does not live a lavish lifestyle and claims money is not a primary motivation for him, Cook's net worth is an estimated $625 million. 

He made most of his fortune from Apple stock options and shares, which totaled almost $622 million. Cook is also on the Nike Board of Directors, where, according to Time, he has $3.4 million worth of stock options.

Still, compared to other CEOs in the tech world, Cook's net worth is modest. Although in 2018, Apple was the first US company to be worth $1 trillion, Cook is worth considerably less than his counterparts at other similar companies. In comparison, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is worth more than $80 billion. Google founder, Larry Page, has a net worth of $67.7billion.

What Is Tim Cook's Salary?

According to Fortune, in the 2019 fiscal year, Cook made $125 million, including:

  • $3 million base salary
  • $7.7 million bonus
  • $884,466 in perks and additional compensation
  • $113.5 million worth of Apple stock 

How Does Cook Spend His Money?

A few fun facts about Tim Cook's well-known frugality and spending habits:

  • Cook reportedly "shuns expensive underwear," buying them at Nordstrom's semi-annual sale.
  • Cook has lived in the same relatively modest home since 2012.
  • His life philosophy centers on the idea of using his time and money to make a lasting impact. Cook told Fortune in 2015, "You want to be the pebble in the pond that creates the ripple for change."
  • He may not live the extravagant lifestyle of the rich and famous, but he isn't afraid to splurge on good causes. Cook has a strong record of philanthropic giving and has also led Apple into new charitable endeavors. In 2011, Cook started a non-profit donation matching program for the company's employees.

As for his personal giving, Cook is very generous. Business Insider reports the following contributions:

  • Donations to civil rights efforts
  • 23,000 shares of his Apple stock(valuing almost $5 million) to an undisclosed charity
  • Several campaign donations
  • Hosted fundraisers for Former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton
  • $236,0000 donation to the Hillary Victory Fund
  • Cook has stated he will use his riches to put his nephew through college. He plans in place to give away every cent of his money to charitable causes when he dies.
Tim Cook Apple

Is Tim Cook Single?

Cook has never married and hasn't mentioned a relationship. In 2014, he ended years of speculation publicly announcing he was gay, making Cook the first openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company. While coming out may have cost him some element of the privacy he values, Cook does not regret his decision to go public. Cook explained he did it for a "greater purpose."

He shared on The David Rubenstein Show in 2018:

"It became clear to me that there were lots of kids out there that were not begging treated well, including in their own families, and that kids need someone to say, 'Oh, they did okay in life, and they're gay so it must not be a life sentence in some kind of way."

Where Is Tim Cook's House?

In Palo Alto, California, Cook's house is just a little more than a mile away from Jobs' former home. But that's where the similarities end. Jobs and his family lived in a 5,678-square-foot, seven-bedroom home on over half an acre of land estimated at $2.6 million. Cook's home is a modest 2,065-square-foot, four-bedroom condo with a small yard. Cook purchased his condo in 2010 for $1.9 million.

Quotes from Tim Cook on Twitter

Cook has an active presence on Twitter but tends to keep his Tweets business-related or statements on current events. Here are some of Tim Cook's most popular Tweets in 2020:

"As we mark this #FourthOfJuly, I am reminded that our work as a country is not finished until every American shares fully in the promise of the Declaration of Independence—true equality and the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." 

"Pride is typically a time of gathering, community, and advocacy. This year may be different, but keeping that spirit alive is urgently important. Thank you especially to the trans community for your leadership, courage, and all you do to make sure tomorrow is better than today." 

"We will never forget the memory and sacrifice of those who have given their lives to protect our freedoms. And it is up to all of us, as Lincoln said, to be dedicated to the unfinished work which they so nobly advanced." 

"Today, we introduced iPhone SE, our most affordable iPhone. Its compact design and powerful performance feature the best single-camera system ever in an iPhone. Another fantastic option in our lineup to help you stay connected, informed, and entertained." 

How Cook Has Handled the Challenges of 2020

Like many CEOs, Cook rose to the occasion to lead his company through the challenges and changes of 2020. In early April, as the pandemic spread across the nation and the world, NBC Chicago reported that Cook donated and delivered 100,000 N95 masks to Illinois. Cook and Apple Inc. also committed to manufacturing one million face shields each week for healthcare workers and first responders.

Cook took to Twitter. His video said, "This is truly a global effort, and we're working with governments at all levels to ensure these go to places of greatest need."

After protests erupted throughout the nation following the killing of George Floyd on May 25th, 2020, by Minneapolis police, Cook took a stand. He sent a memo to employees addressing the tragedy and aftermath. In the company-wide memo, Cook condemned Floyd's murder. He acknowledged the problem of racial injustice in the United States and the criminal justice system.

CNBC.com published the memo in which Cook quoted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and ended with a call to action. "With every breath we take, we must commit to being that change, and to creating a better, more just world for everyone."

In Case You're Wondering...

Going down the Tim Cook rabbit hole, you may have more related questions, like:

How Much Did Lisa Jobs Inherit?

Cook's generosity in his professional and personal life is in stark contrast to the financial legacy left behind by his predecessor Steve Jobs. Jobs' first daughter Lisa Brennan-Jobs painted an unsettling picture of her late father in her book Small Fry. According to Brennan-Jobs, Jobs fathered her at 23. He denied his paternity, although there was a DNA match. Then he provided very little emotional or financial support to her over the years.

Business Insider reported that while Brennan-Jobs received millions of dollars in inheritance when her father died, his $20 billion fortune is in the hands of her stepmother and Jobs' widow, Laurene Powell Jobs. According to The New York Times, Powell Jobs will not pass the fortune on to Brennan-Jobs and Jobs' other three children. Instead, she plans to give most of it away to charity.

Why Isn't Steve Wozniak a Billionaire? 

When you talk about Tim Cook and Steve Jobs, another name typically comes into the conversation. It's Steve Wozniak. He co-founded Apple with Jobs in 1976 in Cupertino, CA. They were two genius college drop-outs who brought their crazy tech dream (before that was a thing) to life. Wozniak also invented the ground-breaking Apple II Computer. However, Wozniak resigned from Apple in 1985 and took a very different professional path than Jobs. As a result, Wozniak does not have the same fortune that Jobs amassed and left behind following his death.

So what's the difference between the co-founders' fortunes if they both started Apple? Most of Jobs' wealth was not due to founding Apple, according to the article "Why Wozniak Is Not as Rich as Jobs." Jobs sold all his shares in 1985 for millions and kept only one share to get an annual report. However, outside of Apple, Jobs went on to be a major shareholder in Pixar. That made him his first billion when the company went public in 1995.

Additionally, after selling his first Apple shares, Jobs later purchased more shares. He proceeded to take the company to new heights. The most auspicious days of the company came 22 years after Wozniak resigned. That means he didn't get to reap the same rewards as Jobs, who was there for the company's journey to the top.

Wozniak did start some new ventures after his Apple career. They include the failed Wheels of Zeus wireless GPS technology, the CL9 (first programmable, universal remote control), and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. They were not as lucrative.

What Is Wozniak Worth?

Today, Wozniak receives a mere $50 weekly from Apple. But don't feel too bad for him, because he still has an estimated net worth of over $120 million. Wozniak claims to be the only Apple employee who has received a paycheck every week since the company started. It's small, but he claims the paycheck's symbolic value is what matters most to him.

What Is Facebook's Net Worth?

When you think of Apple's impressive $1 trillion net worth, you may wonder about how much a conglomerate like Facebook makes in comparison. The net worth of a company is typically determined by the current stock price multiplied by the number of shares outstanding. In the case of Facebook, this number amounts to $686.43 billion.

Facebook, Inc.'s products include:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Messenger
  • WhatsApp
  • Oculus

In June 2020, Facebook shares dropped 8.3% after several companies pulled their advertising from the network. They protested Facebook's failure to put an end to hate speech and disinformation on the platform. The share drop reduced Facebook's market value by $56 billion while reducing CEO Zuckerberg's net worth by $7.2 billion.

Who Owns the Most Apple Stock?

According to CNN Business, the Top 10 Owners of Apple Inc. include the following stockholders:

1. The Vanguard Group, Inc.

2. Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.

3. BlackRock Fund Advisors

4. SSgA Funds Management, Inc.

5. Fidelity Management & Research Company

6. Geode Capital Management LLC

7. T.Rowe Price Associates, Inc.

8. Northern Trust Investments, Inc.

9. Norges Bank Investment Management

10. BlackRock Investment Management

Tim Cook

The Bottom Line

In the last decade, Tim Cook has proven himself has an honorable and successful leader and CEO for Apple. Cook likes to keep his private life private. But he isn't afraid to stand up and be transparent about who he is, especially when it means he can make a difference for others. As the second-highest-paid CEO in the world, just behind Elon Musk, Cook doesn't live a flashy lifestyle or flaunt his wealth. He lives modestly and uses his influence and income to support charities.

What would you do with this kind of life-changing wealth? Would you live modestly like Cook or be more like Musk, who spent $72 million on Bel Air mansions? It's fun to imagine how your life would change and what it might look like. That's one reason people enjoy reading articles about celebrities and company CEOs who have made it big. We want to know how "the other half" lives!

What if you could do more than just dream about living a life free of financial worries? Want the freedom to live extravagantly or to dedicate yourself to philanthropic endeavors, or both? Today, no matter where you are in life, it's possible to start building the kind of wealth that can give you that freedom. If you are ready to stop dreaming and start taking action, check this out.

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