10 Facts You Never Knew About Apple’s CEO Tim Cook

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Timothy “Tim” Cook may be the chief executive officer of Apple Inc., but the 54-year-old executive has more to him than a title. Since taking over for the late Steve Jobs as CEO in August 2011, Cook was Apple’s chief operating officer.

However, the public still doesn’t seem to have much of a background of who Cook is. With that said, before you listen to him talk at his next at Apple’s next keynote speech, here’s a list of a few things you have never known about Tim Cook.

Rinse & Repeat

Tim Cook is a cycling and hiking enthusiast who is noted to be in the Apple’s private gym by 5 am every morning, which follows waking up at around 3:45 and spending approximately an hour reading and responding to emails.

A frequent user of energy bars, it is no surprise that under the self-described fitness nut’s leadership, the Apple Watch was announced.

Cook, whose Twitter biography previously said that he’s a fan of Auburn football and Duke Basketball, is very open about his love of nature, even approving the name Yosemite as the name of the next Mac system.


Tim Cook has served on the board of directors of Nike, Inc. since 2005. As Presiding Director and Chairman of the Compensation Committee, his duties include overseeing the company’s compensation plans and reviewing the overall performance of the CEO.

Cook also serves for the National Football Foundation, often abbreviated as NFF, a non-profit organization founded to “promote and develop amateur American football” throughout the United States. Tim Cook joined the board in February of 2010, months before he was named the Chief Executive Officer of Apple Inc.

A Helping Hand

At the age of 36, Cook was misdiagnosed with the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis (MS). Cook has said that this experience allowed him to view the world “in a different way“, one reason the entrepreneur has adopted a healthier lifestyle. Today, he continues to raise money for research for the disease, often competing in cycling events to raise money for MS.

Since Cook became CEO, Apple has also began to demolish its “stingy” reputation specifically by matching contributions with its employees, up to an estimated $10,000. In October, Apple also announced its partnership with ConnectED initiative. The second-largest tech company announced plans to distribute at least $100 million worth of iPads to 114 underprivileged schools.

In 2011, Cook had personally donated $100 million to Stanford University hospitals as well as Product Red, an organization to support the elimination HIV/AIDS in Africa.


In 1997, Cook left his position as COO of the Reseller Division at Intelligent Electronics for a position as Compaq’s vice president of Corporate Materials where he was responsible for both procuring and managing all of the company’s product inventory. Although Cook resigned for Apple six months in, he was described as “not very senior or visible“.

He was the guy who got laptops out of development and successfully into the manufacturing environment.” Bob Stearns, Compaq’s former chief technical and strategy officer explained.

At the time, Cook was considering his choice of Compaq or Apple, originally a difficult decision as Compaq was the number one computer maker. However, within five minutes of his initial meeting with Steve Jobs, Cook says he decided to leave Compaq, although being advised to stay with the computer company.

At his 2010 commencement speech, Cook told the Auburn University graduating class that he had never saw himself at Apple, but explained that it was “without a doubt the best decision” he had ever made.

Good Ol’ Alabama

Tim Cook, a middle child, was raised in Robertsdale, Alabama. Cook’s father, Donald, was a shipyard worker while mother Geraldine was a homemaker and pharmacist. A local Alabama newspaper describes Cook as a “hard working student” who wasn’t considered a nerd, but rather someone who excelled in school.

After graduating from Robertsdale High School as salutatorian, Cook earned an industrial engineering Bachelor’s degree from Auburn University in 1982 followed by an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business, the business school of North Carolina-based Duke University, in 1988. Cook received the title of Fuqua Scholar, an achievement given only to students who graduate in the top ten percent of their class.


Although seemingly unemotional and boring at first, Tim Cook has gradually emerged from predecessor Steve Jobs’ shadow. Although, the comparisons will continue now and forever on.

It is easy to, however, note the differences between both Cook & Jobs. Cook focuses on transparency and teamwork while sporting a calm demeanor, nearly the opposite of what Jobs represented.

Under Cook, Apple has had its fair share of PR disasters including its iOS 6 Maps App, which Cook had to personally apologize for. Accusations about the technology giant helping the NSA steal information didn’t help either.

Both Jobs and Cook can be described as brilliant and intense at the same time. Each is said to be no-nonsense, confident, and action-oriented in their roles as representations of Apple.


Cook is said to have lived in a rental apartment without air conditioning until 2010, the year Cook had finally bought a house of his own. The Palo Alto, 24,000 square foot home of choice, according to public records, was purchased for $1.9 million.

Palo Alto is said to be the most expensive cities in the US, which goes hand in hand with the idea that the California charter city’s residents are said to be “among the most educated in the country“. Upon the media asking questions about living so humbly, he explained that he “likes to be reminded” where he came from and putting himself in “modest surroundings helps me do that.”

Forbes reports that the CEO’s total pay topped $4.2 million in 2012, but still Cook concluded by saying that “money is not a motivator” for him.

Apple, valued at $700 billion as of February, has overtaken multinational oil and gas corporation Exxon Mobile to become the world’s most valuable company, according to The Irish Independent.


Since taking over Apple as Chief Executive Officer, Cook has introduced and launched five fresh-faced iPhones, which include the recent iPhone and 6 Plus, as well as 7 new iPads, including the iPad Mini & iPad Air. The company, attempting to appeal to an array of audiences, also announced and displayed their first smartwatch, the Apple Watch, available April 2015.

Tim Cook now runs a 50,000-employee company which requires a great deal of problem-solving skills, energy and grasp of reality. Cook, obsessed with operational detail, is known to hold Sunday night telephone calls with managers to prepare and map out details for the next week.

With humility, personal connection and relatability at the forefront of his values, Cook often eats in Apple’s cafeteria, in which he introduces himself to any employees and visitors he isn’t familiar with.

As soon as it was announced that Steve Jobs had resigned, Tim Cook sent a letter to all staff reassuring them that “Apple is not going to change“, reminding them of Apple’s values direction.


The charming and funny Cook is described as one who “would haggle over a nickel to drive profits“. Cook’s weekly meetings could last up to six hours. Past employees explain that the Five W’s are a common questions from Cook throughout the meetings, with many employees dreading any errors Cook may notice.

Cook is known as the “first inside and last out“, but says that he doesn’t even consider what he does on a day-to-day basis working. “The thing about it is, when you love what you do, you don’t really think of it as work.” Cook, 54, once explained. “It’s what you do. And that’s the good fortune of where I find myself.

Out & About

Tim Cook recently came out about his sexual orientation, which he describes “among the greatest gifts” that God has given him. In an October 2014 editorial for Business Week, he disclosed that although he had never denied his sexuality, he never publicly announced that he was gay until then.

The announcement was not much of a shock, as many rumors have appeared on publications since early 2011, but “The Most Powerful Man in Silicon Valley” will now forever be known as the first CEO of a Fortune 500 company to disclose his sexuality.

In the editorial, he adds that in his office stands pictures of both Dr. King and Robert F. Kennedy, two of his inspirations. He says that those pictures remind him about what his impact on others and hoping that his openness further paves the way for acceptance.