10 Interesting Things You (probably) Don't Know about Tim Cook
Article by George Norman
On 17 Oct 2016
A lot of people know who Tim Cook is. But when you ask them to tell you something about him, the only thing they’re able to say is "he’s the CEO of Apple, right?"

There’s lots more to know about Tim Cook, on top of him being Apple’s CEO. I don’t mean to paint a detailed biography, but I will mention the 10 most interesting things you might want to know about him.


1. His middle name is Donald

Tim Cook’s full name is Timothy Donald Cook.

He was born in Mobile, Alabama, on November 1, 1960. Donald Cook, his father, was a shipyard worker. Geraldine Cook, his mother, worked at a pharmacy, then stayed at home to take care of Tim Cook and his two brothers.

Donald and Geraldine Cook still live in the same house Tim grew up in.

2. He lives in a modest condo

For years, Cook lived in a rental that had no air conditioning. When he finally decided to buy a place, he purchased a relatively modest condo.

A 2,400 square foot, four-bedroom condo with a small yard, located in Palo Alto, California, which he purchased for $1.9 million in 2010. That’s nothing, compared to Steve Jobs’ 5,678 square-foot, 7-bedroom home with over half an acre of land.

3. His first job was delivering newspapers

It’s not just you, some of the biggest names in the tech industry had a lousy first job as well.

Reed Hastings, co-founder and CEO of Netflix, worked as a vacuum cleaner salesman. Michael Dell, founder, chairman and CEO of Dell Technologies, worked as a restaurant dish washer.

And Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, used to deliver newspapers for the Press-Register, a publication in his home state of Alabama.

4. He didn’t want to come work for Apple

For 12 years, from 1982 until 1994, Tim Cook worked for IMB, ultimately serving as director of North American Fulfillment where he led manufacturing and distribution functions for IBM’s Personal Computer Company in North and Latin America.

From 1994 until 1998, Tim Cook worked with Intelligent Electronics, serving as Chief Operating Officer of the computer reseller division.

In 1998, he went work for Compaq, were he was Vice President for Corporate materials for six months, before eventually going to work for Apple.

But at first, he didn’t want to leave Compaq in favor of Apple. When he was contacted by an executive search firm and offered a position with Apple, Cook turned down the offer. The agency kept on calling and Cook kept on turning them down. Steve Jobs had to personally step in to convince Tim Cook.

"No more than five minutes into my initial interview with Steve, I wanted to throw caution and logic to the wind and join Apple. My intuition already knew that joining Apple was a once in a lifetime opportunity to work for the creative genius, and to be on the executive team that could resurrect a great American company," said Tim Cook in a commencement speech at Auburn University.

5. He’s serious about giving back

Tom Cook became Apple’s CEO in October 2011, after Steve Jobs passed away. Soon after, he introduced a matching gift program that went something like this: when an employee made a donation to a non-profit organization, Apple would match that donation, up to $10K per year. In about 7 weeks, the program managed to raise $2.6 million.

Tim Cook didn’t shy away from doing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. He regularly participates in charity events. And he said he’ll donate his entire stock fortune to charity (as you might expect, Cook has Apple stock that’s worth a lot of money).

Bottom line: under Cook, Apple has increased its donations to charity and has slowly moved away from its stingy reputation.

6. He’s a morning person

As you might already know, Tim Cook begins his day by checking his emails. What you might not know is that Tim Cook gets up very early in the morning and starts sending emails as early as 4:30.

I've gone to bed at 4:30 on several occasions. But I've never gotten up so early, not unless there was an emergency. If I can sleep for five more minutes, I will sleep for five more minutes. Maybe twenty.

7. He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis

Back in 1996, Tim Cook was mistakenly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). It was an eye-opening experience that got him to "see the world in a new way." Turns out that Cook’s MS symptoms came from "lugging a lot of incredibly heavy luggage around."

Cook cares about his health and abides to a strict gym routine. It's worth pointing out that he doesn’t work out at the gym offered to Apple employees. He occasionally eats lunch with random employees in Apple’s cafeteria, but he never works out at Apple’s gym.

Cook lifts weights and enjoys cycling and hiking.

8. He’s got several things in common with Steve Jobs

Tim Cook and Steve Jobs both share a rare blood type. Because of this, Cook offered a portion of his liver to Jobs. Jobs refused, yelling that "I’ll never let you do that."

Cook and Jobs both share a fondness for the rock-and-roll greats of the 1960s.

Cook is just as rough to the staff as Steve Jobs was. He reportedly told a planner once that "your numbers make me want to jump out that window over there." During a meeting over a problem in Asia, Cook said offhand that someone should go there to deal with the situation; half an hour later he turned to one of the execs in the room and said "why are you still here?" The exec left immediately for China, without so much as a packing bag.

9. He’s worth a lot of money

Well, duh, of course he’s worth a lot of money. Here are some figures to better put things in perspective. Tim Cook’s salary for 2015 was $10.28 million. His Apple stock is worth about $120 million, while his restricted stock options are valued at $665 million. It all adds up to a total net worth of $785 million.

But, as mentioned above, Tim Cook plans to donate his entire stock fortune to charity.

10. He’s gay

Tim Cook made a bold move back in October 2014, when he publicly came out as gay. Cook, who is the first CEO of a Fortune 500 company to publicly identify as gay, said that "I'm proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me."

In related news...

Here are 10 interesting things you probably don’t know about Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s current CEO.

Tags: Apple, Tim Cook, CEO, fun facts, Steve Jobs
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
You can follow him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter

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