Apple CEO Tim Cook Makes Time’s 100 Most Influential List

Tim Cook Time 100Image via Luke Wilson, Time Magazine.

Apple CEO Tim Cook made Time Magazine’s 2012 list of the “100 Most Influential People in the World,” released on Wednesday. Mr. Cook’s placement on the list, which is updated annually but is not ranked, places him in the company of individuals such as Hillary Clinton, Stephen Colbert, Warren Buffet, and Steve Jobs biographer and former Time managing editor Walter Isaacson. 

Mr. Cook’s profile for the list was written by Apple board member Al Gore, and focuses on his ability to smoothly and successfully assume leadership of Apple following the death of its “legendary” founder:

It is difficult to imagine a harder challenge than following the legendary Steve Jobs as CEO of Apple. Yet Tim Cook, a soft-spoken, genuinely humble and quietly intense son of an Alabama shipyard worker and a homemaker, hasn’t missed a single beat.

Fiercely protective of Jobs’ legacy and deeply immersed in Apple’s culture, Cook, 51, has already led the world’s most valuable and innovative company to new heights while implementing major policy changes smoothly and brilliantly.

He has indelibly imprinted his leadership on all areas of Apple — from managing its complex inner workings to identifying and shepherding new “insanely great” technology and design breakthroughs into the product pipeline.

Cook’s personal discipline, physical regimen and work hours reflect a philosophy summarized in his 2010 Auburn University commencement speech, in which he quoted President Lincoln: “I will prepare, and someday my chance will come.”

Highly ethical and always thoughtful, he projects calmness but can be tough as nails when necessary. Like the great conductor George Szell, Cook knows that his commitment to excellence is inseparable from the incredible ensemble he leads at Apple. Szell was noted for saying, “We begin where others leave off.”

Cook’s chance has come. What a beginning!

Time’s 100 list was first published in 1999 and has become an annual event since. It is an evaluation by academics and journalists to determine, for better or worse, the most influential individuals of the given year. Mr. Cook’s predecessor, Steve Jobs, made the list five times, in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2010.