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Apple chief Tim Cook forges own legacy

Press AssociationPress Association 31/03/2016

Having stepped into the role at the top of Apple in tragic circumstances following the resignation and death of Steve Jobs, Tim Cook has already begun to forge his own legacy at the top of the technology giant.

In 2014, Cook became the first head of a Fortune 500 company to come out as gay, has pushed to widen Apple's green and environmental policies, and has taken on the US government and FBI in recent weeks over data encryption and user privacy.

The Alabama-born executive joined Apple in 1998 as senior vice-president of worldwide operations, where he oversaw the company's factories and warehouses.

It was in this role that Cook also placed greater emphasis on flash memory components, which would become vital to Apple following the launch of the iPod Nano, iPhone and iPad.

In 2007, Cook was promoted to lead operations and then in 2009 served as chief executive during Jobs' first leave of absence.

During the Apple co-founder's final leave of absence in 2011 he again assumed control of day-to-day operations at the company, though Jobs still had the final say on most major decisions.

In August of that year Jobs was forced to resign as chief executive as his health continued to fail, and Cook was named his successor.

The two had formed a strong partnership, with many analysts reporting that it was the combined efforts of the two that had seen Apple return to profitability in their years together at the firm.

Some top-level reshuffling took place following Cook's appointment, as long-standing head of iOS Scott Forstall left in 2013, while newsi financei cfinancei sfinancei cnewsi nz fdx net was made the company's first chief design officer.

Cook's strong stance on the environment was also showcased when, in 2014, he told shareholders who did not back company policy on sustainability and climate change to "get out of the stock".

In October of that year, Cook used an editorial for Bloomberg Business to come out as gay, writing: "I'm proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me."

He became the first chief executive of a major corporation to do so, also speaking out against his home state Alabama's record on LGBT rights when being inducted into the state's Academy of Honour during the same month.

His stance against the FBI in early 2016 was also commended, with Cook stating that Apple would not risk user security by aiding the FBI to unlock the iPhone of one of the shooters in the San Bernardino terror attack.

He called the request a "breach of privacy" that could have "chilling" consequences in an open letter on Apple's website.

In March he was placed at number one on Fortune's list of "World's Greatest Leaders".

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