Apple CEO publicly acknowledges that he’s gay

31 Oct 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘I’m proud to be gay,’ Apple CEO Tim Cook says.

When Apple chief executive Tim Cook said Thursday he is “proud to be gay,” he did not just become the first openly gay leader of a major U.S. company. NEW YORK (AP) — Apple CEO Tim Cook’s declaration that he’s “proud to be gay,” makes him the highest-profile business executive in the nation to publicly acknowledge his sexual orientation. He also swept his obsessively private company to the forefront of one of America’s most public movements, cementing its place in the debate over equality in the workplace and beyond. Apple, the world’s most valuable company, is famously and fanatically tight-lipped, long neglecting to tell its shareholders of late chief executive Steve Jobs’ cancer diagnosis. Apple is already one of the most closely watched companies in the world, and I like keeping the focus on our products and the incredible things our customers achieve with them.

Cook wrote in the column, published Thursday, that it wasn’t an easy choice to publicly disclose that he is gay, but that he felt the acknowledgement could help others. But under Cook, the tech giant is now taking on bigger, bolder advocacy roles in social policy and politics, eschewing the corporate America convention of avoiding touchy subjects, and winning acclaim from its customers in turn.

In a country where more major-league athletes have come out than top CEOs, business leaders said Cook’s disclosure was an important step toward easing anti-gay stigma, particularly for employees in the many states where people can still be fired for their sexual orientation. Cook said that he had been lucky to work for a company that “loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people’s differences”. Alabama is among the states that do not recognize same-sex marriage, and it also doesn’t offer legal protections on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Once rarely seen in Washington, Apple has in the last year spoken out in support of a workplace equality bill before Congress, advocated for same-sex marriage in California and opposed a bill allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians in Arizona. Martin Luther King, who said: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” I often challenge myself with that question, and I’ve come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important. The deal was brokered by Josh Tyrangiel, a Yale grad who gained experience at eclectic organizations such as Time Inc., Rolling Stone and MTV before becoming editor of Bloomberg Businessweek in 2009. Fred Sainz, a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, wrote in an e-mail from an airplane Thursday morning that while it’s always significant when someone makes the choice to come out, Cook does have an ‘‘elevated platform.’’ It’s a platform, he noted, that the Apple CEO has already used to advance equality issues, such as when he spoke out about Alabama’s record on civil rights on Monday. ‘‘I have to believe that business leaders across the world today took notice of the fact that they have a gay colleague now in their ranks,’’ Sainz wrote, ‘‘and questioned what that means to company policies and support for nondiscrimination protections.’’ There is ‘‘lots of positive reflection going on today in boardrooms because of Tim Cook.’’ On the whole, American businesses have become increasingly progressive on the issue of gay rights in recent years, opposing legislation seen as discriminatory, favoring the overturn of the Defense of Marriage Act and adding more inclusive workplace policies and incentives.

Cook is a native of Robertsdale, Alabama, and attended Auburn University. “This really sets the stage for ‘It’s OK,'” he said. “Anything CEOs do is very magnified, very complicated, and it affects a lot of people… In an essay written for Bloomberg Businessweek, and published Thursday Oct. 30, 2014 Cook says that while he never denied his sexuality, he never publicly acknowledged it, either. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File) Cook, who led Out magazine’s top 50 most powerful people for three years, said in the essay that while he never denied his sexuality, he never openly acknowledged it, either.

He first sought support from Apple’s board, which chairman Art Levinson said in a statement gave its “wholehearted support and admiration.” Before Cook, coming out in the corporate suite was unprecedented. WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy powered its way to a respectable growth rate of 3.5 percent from July through September, outpacing most of the developed world and on track to extend the momentum through the end of the year and beyond.

Of chief executives in the country’s 500 largest public companies, only 5 percent are women, 1 percent are black — and 0 were publicly gay or lesbian, said Kenji Yoshino, a professor of constitutional law at New York University who last year co-authored “Uncovering Talent: A New Model of Inclusion.” “It’s enormously significant,” Yoshino said, “precisely because there’s been a big gap between what middle management in the Fortune 500 has looked like, and its leadership, and what it looks like.” The lack of openly gay leaders has long been a puzzle for the gay and lesbian community. Legislation known as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act sought to bring such protections to the federal level, but it has long languished since passing the Senate nearly a year ago. Launched during the financial crisis in 2008, it was an unprecedented and aggressive effort to revive a dormant economy through buying trillions in bonds. And it could drive more employees at all levels to feel more comfortable coming out at work, a prospect that could have a tangible impact on productivity. He pointed to research showing that employees who are out about their sexuality at work progress more quickly, are more productive and stay with their companies longer.

Being gay has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority and provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups deal with every day. Cook probably chose to make his views public in print, rather than in a television interview or a speech, because there would be less to distract his audience from the message. With such a deeply personal message, details such as body language, clothing, and tone of voice, tend to be analyzed “to within an inch of their life” in the 24-hour news cycle, Mr. According to Christie Smith, a managing partner at Deloitte, the best solution to the problem may be for more CEOs to speak openly about their personal lives, as Cook has done.

In January 2007, Browne, who had served as chief executive of BP for 12 years and was a closeted gay man, was wrenched into the spotlight after a former boyfriend told a British newspaper about their relationship. Oba, a consultant, had hoped to supplement his future retirement income in a guilt-free way and invested $200,000 in a 50 kilowatt solar-panel facility, set up earlier this year in a former rice paddy near his home in southwestern Japan. But Kyushu Electric Power Co., the utility to which he must sell his electricity, has recently placed on hold all new applications for getting on its grid. So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy. Associated Press writers Brandon Bailey and Michael Liedtke in San Francisco, Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow and Michelle Chapman in New York contributed to this report.

Thompson said that comes down to personal preference in an era where stories and even tweets are almost immediately linked across multiple news sites and media platforms. “A story like this is going to be linked and distributed all over the place so where it’s point of origin [is] made a lot more difference 20 years ago, made quite a bit more difference 10 years ago,” he said. The utilities say they can’t accommodate the flood of newcomers to the green energy business, throwing in doubt the future of Japan’s up-to-now aggressive strategy on renewable energy.

But in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, the tranquil Cotes-de-Fer area is mostly uninhabited, holding just a scattering of shacks lit by candles, with little to do apart from fishing or working the sunbaked soil. Kennedy and said he hoped his coming out would in some way contribute to a greater good. “We pave the sunlit path toward justice together, brick by brick,” he wrote. “This is my brick.” Yellen, who is the first woman to head the central bank in its 100-year history, was speaking Thursday at a conference on diversity in the economics profession organized by the Fed and the American Economic Association. Among the questions to be addressed, Yellen said, is how college students view the coursework and employment prospects for economics majors compared with what the actual prospects are.

DETROIT (AP) — Shortly before 9 a.m. on the day after the worst night of his life, Rikk Wilde got the phone call from his big boss at General Motors. The call, from Chevrolet Vice President Brian Sweeney, had to be a relief for Wilde, who makes his living as a zone manager and liaison between GM and its Kansas City-area dealers. “The Chevy leadership team called and told him he did nothing wrong. In a complaint filed Thursday in federal court, the Federal Trade Commission alleged that the company misled consumers by suggesting that its formula was the first to meet government approval for reducing the risk of allergies. The FTC said it wants Gerber to pull its claim from labels and advertisements and left open the possibility of asking the court to require Gerber to issue refunds for the $20-plus packages sold since 2011.

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