In a recently published piece in the Bloomberg Businessweek, Apple CEO stated publicly that he is proud to be gay. The statement seen as coming out publicly begs the question, should anyone really care and why? The reaction in the media can be termed as being explosive, and opinions appear to be mixed, on what it really means for consumers, and shareholders of the world’s most valuable company.
Reports are that there are several gay CEOs or former CEOs of publicly traded companies, but the impact of Tim Cook publicly revealing his sexuality appears to be more profound, mostly because the company is Apple Inc. It has been almost two years since the untimely departure of the late founder Steve Jobs, who revolutionized the world of computing, and anointed Tim Cook as successor, but many followers of the company believe that Tim Cook has not yet made his mark in the industry, while others are, so far, still undecided as to the success of some recently introduced products. He is currently being noted as the most outstanding business leader in the U.S. to come out, and gay rights activists say that corporate culture in the U.S. is sure to be impacted. It is expected that other gay leaders, even those in not involved in business will follow his lead which should serve as an example.
His revelations follow those from organizations, such the NFL, the NBA, and even some representatives in the Senate have openly revealed their sexuality, but the question that continues to be repeated now that Apple CEO has publicly stated that he is gay, is why should we care?
To his credit, or perhaps what can be seen as a discredit, Tim Cook states that being gay was one of the greatest gifts that God has given to him. The question that can follow, and can be difficult to answer, is if being gay has made him a better leader? The reaction in his home town of Alabama, can be described as being uncomfortable, as same-sex marriages are still unlawful and workers can be dismissed, based on sexual orientation. Perhaps his public disclosure can be used as a catalyst for change.
There is still, however, one issue in his announcement that can be taken to task. He states that being gay, may have given a deeper appreciation of what it means to be in a minority. While it can be seen as having a ring of truth and being well intended, it also rings of being a bit hollow, simply because being gay can literally be undisclosed forever with no consequences, while it may be virtually impossible to keep darker skin color from being disclosed.
There has been practically no reaction among the shareholders, as trading activity has shown no aberrations. It can only be speculated that the timing of the announcement was appropriate, although it had been known for some time, or perhaps no one really cares if Tim Cook, the CEO of world’s most valued company says that he is proud to be gay.
Opinion by Dale Davidson
The Globe And Mail