Fortune Names Apple CEO Tim Cook one of ‘World’s 50 Greatest Leaders’

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Tim Cook

Fortune magazine released a list of the people it thinks are the "World's 50 Greatest Leaders," and showing up as #33 in the list is Apple CEO Tim Cook. The magazine cited Mr. Cook's "parade of winning new products" and his decision to hire Angela Ahrendt of Burberry to run Apple retail among the reasons he made the list.

The men and women on the list were chosen with the help of its reporters, as well as outside leadership experts. The former makes the inclusion of Mr. Cook somewhat surprising considering the number of Apple is doomed and Apple can no longer innovate without Steve Jobs articles published by the magazine in the last 18 months.

The full blurb accompanying Mr. Cook's writeup:

Following Steve Jobs has arguably been the toughest corporate leadership assignment in decades, yet Cook has carried it off with mostly quiet aplomb. In 2½ years he has kept the parade of winning new products marching (the Retina display, new operating systems, the iPhone 5), and he is bringing in Burberry's savior, Angela Ahrendts, to run Apple's retail stores. That's thinking different.

Also surprising is the lack of Bill Gates on the list. Mr. Gates's leadership in marshaling resources to combat a number of problems in the world through the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation has been phenomenal. At the same time, Bono made the list at #8 due to his work in convincing the rich and powerful to work with (RED).

Fortune's Top 10:

  1. Pope Francis - The Pope
  2. Angela Merkel - Chancellor of Germany
  3. Alan Mullaly - CEO of Ford
  4. Warren Buffett - CEO of Berkshire Hathaway
  5. Bill Clinton - Former U.S. President and Founder of The Clinton Foundation
  6. Aung San Suu Kyi - Chair, National League for Democracy
  7. Gen. Joe Dunford - Commander, U.S. Forces, Afghanistan
  8. Bono - U2, Project (RED)
  9. Dalai Lama - The Dalai Lama
  10. Jeff Bezos - CEO of Amazon

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Not mentioned by Fortune is the herculean task of managing a company like Apple in the wake of its iconic founder's death and working in that founder's shadow. Few people could have done that job, which is likely one of the many reasons Steve Jobs hand-picked Tim Cook to be his successor.

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Way to go, Cookie!!  Which reminds me, yet another completely irrational and failed prediction gone awry…


The thing about TC is that he is very low key. He’s not the outgoing showman SJ was. That’s why many, and I include myself, thought he wasn’t doing much. Time has shown that TC can be diplomatic when needed, tough as nails when needed, and can make the hard, often outside the box call when needed. They mention hiring Angela Ahrendts as an example of his good leadership. I’d put his blunt slam down of the NCPPR as another example. That was the event that really made me reassess how he’s done. Quiet strength runs deeper and is stronger than showy posturing. I’ll take TC over other ‘leaders’ that know what to do and where to lead by which way the wind is blowing.

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