Apple CEO Tim Cook is FT’s Person of the Year

Apple CEO Tim Cook has given the business world much to applaud this year, leading the company to a record $700 billion market capitalization, scoring record iPhone sales and handing billions back to shareholders.

But in naming him Person of the Year, the Financial Times wrote that it was Cook’s courage that stood out.

Cook famously came forward as the Fortune 500’s first openly gay CEO in October, declaring in an essay published in Bloomberg Businessweek that he was “proud to be gay.” But the Financial Times noted that Cook has taken other bold stands this year. The newspaper pointed to an exchange at Apple’s shareholder meeting in February, when someone in the audience questioned the profitability of the company’s environmental initiatives. Cook went on the offensive.

“We do things for other reasons than a profit motive, we do things because they are right and just,” Cook barked, according to the Financial Times. “Just to be very straightforward with you, if that’s a hard line for you . . . then you should get out of the stock.”

Few investors have taken Cook up on that offer. After a rocky 2013, in which questions about Apple’s ability to innovate without Steve Jobs mounted, the company’s stock has steadily climbed this fall after supersize iPhones and a hotly anticipated smartwatch were unveiled.

While Cook has at times weathered criticism for having a light touch on the product side, the Financial Times suggests that his well-rounded approach has proved to be an asset. And what he might lack in showmanship or fashion sense, he has addressed with hires, bringing on high profile talent like former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts and star designer Marc Newson, the newspaper points out.

Although 2014 is rapidly coming to a close, Cook and his deputies at Apple don’t seem ready to rest just yet. Earlier this week, Apple and IBM released the first apps to emerge from their collaboration, a collection that Cook dubbed “the most enterprising apps ever” on Twitter.

Above: Apple CEO Tim Cook has been named person of the year by the Financial Times (Getty Images).

 

 

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