Life and career biography of Apple CEO Tim Cook

For years Apple was run by famous founder Steve Jobs. When Jobs resigned and passed away, Tim Cook stepped up to the plate as CEO on Aug. 24, 2011. Cook has led the company through major leadership changes and the acquirement of major companies like Beats Electronics, but this executive is much more private than his predecessor. Find out about Cook’s career path and more.

Where is Tim Cook from?

Cook was born in Mobile, Alabama on and grew up in Robertsdale, a nearby town. He now lives in Palo Alto, California.

How much does Tim Cook make?

According to the Apple Inc. 2018 SEC Def 14a filing, Cook has an annual salary of $3 million. He received $0 as a bonus, $0 as a stock award, $12 million in non-equity incentive plan, and $682,219 in form of all other compensation for a total of $15.7 million in revenue.

What is Tim Cook’s net worth in 2019?

Tim Cook’s net worth is estimated to be $625.37 million, according to Business Insider.

Tim Cook’s education history

Cook earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Auburn University in 1982. He became the Fuqua Scholar in 1988 at Duke University while earning his MBA there.

Tim Cook’s career path


Cook’s first position after graduating was with IBM’s personal computer business, where he spent 12 years and ultimately served as the director of North American fulfillment.

Intelligent Electronics

In 1994 Cook became the chief operating officer of the Reseller Division at Intelligent Electronics.

Compaq Computer Corporation

In 1997 he became the vice president of corporate materials at Compaq, a company that developed, sold and supported computers, as well as related products and services. Cook was only with Compaq for six months before accepting a position at Apple.


Steve Jobs asked Cook to join Apple in 1998. Cook recalled the story in a commencement speech at Auburn University.

“Any purely rational consideration of cost and benefits lined up in Compaq’s favor, and the people who knew me best advised me to stay at Compaq… On that day in early 1998 I listened to my intuition, not the left side of my brain or for that matter even the people who knew me best… 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.”

Cook’s first position at Apple was senior vice president for worldwide operations.

In January 2007 Cook moved up to lead operations. In 2009 he served as CEO while Jobs was on a leave of absence for health issues. Apple’s board of director’s approved a third medical leave for Jobs in January 2011, during which Cook took responsibility for most of Apple’s day-to-day operations. Jobs still remained in control of the company’s major decisions.

Cook was named the new CEO of Apple Inc. on Aug. 24, 2011, after Jobs resigned from the position.

Tim Cook private life

Cook is notoriously an extremely private person, but the executive came out as gay to the public on Oct. 30, 2014.

“I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me,” Cook wrote in an essay for Bloomberg Business.

The CEO explained that he’s been open about his sexuality for years and that many employees at Apple already knew this information about him.

“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 bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy,” Cook wrote.

Tim Cook’s list of recommended books

  • “Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell” by Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, and Alan Eagle
  • “March: Book One” by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin
  • “March: Book Two” by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin
  • “March: Book Three” by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin
  • “Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon” by Larry Tye
  • “Gandhi: An Autobiography – The Story of My Experiments With Truth” by Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi
  • “Competing Against Time” by George Stalk Jr. , Thomas M. Hout

Tim Cook quotes

tim cook apple quote

About career advice

“Work takes on new meaning when you feel you are pointed in the right direction. Otherwise, it’s just a job, and life is too short for that.”

“It’s hard to edit. It’s hard to stay focused. And yet, we know we’ll only do our best work if we stay focused. And so, you know, the hardest decisions we made are all the things not to work on, frankly.”

About inspiration

“Let your joy be in your journey – not in some distant goal.”

“Life is fragile. We’re not guaranteed a tomorrow so give it everything you’ve got.”

About Steve Jobs

“I personally admire Steve not most for what he did, or what he said, but for what he stood for. The largest lesson I learned from Steve was that the joy in life is in the journey, and I saw him live this every day.”

“From the onset, I wanted to pour every ounce that I had in myself into the company. But in terms of being everything (Steve Jobs) was, I never had that objective. I’ve never had the objective of being like him. Because I knew, the only person I can be is the person I am, right? I’m not an actor.”

About technology

“There’s this thing in technology, almost a disease, where the definition of success is making the most. How many clicks did you get, how many active users do you have, how many units did you sell? Everybody in technology seems to want big numbers. Steve never got carried away with that. He focused on making the best.”

“Our goal has never been to make the most. It’s always been to make the best.”