I found it interesting this week that when Apple CEO Steve Jobs resigned, and Tim Cook was named the new CEO – most news organizations didn’t leave with what this would mean to Apple and the industry in general. Instead they led with “Apple’s New CEO is Gay!” Here is a guy who has an outstanding career, more accomplishments than you could ever list – a documented “company” guy who works harder than anyone, and Jobs himself personally picked him as his replacement – and we focus on his sexual orientation.
There is something majorly wrong with this from a societal context.
If Cook was married with children what do you think the headline would have read?
“Cook”ing up a New Apple”
“Apple Adds another Cook to the Kitchen”
“Will Cook Cut Up the Apple?”
You get the point…if sure as hell wouldn’t have been any of these:
“Cook Adding Some Spice To the CEO suite at Apple”
“Will Apple Go back to the Rainbow Logo with Cook in Charge”
“What Changes Will Cook Make to his New Office”
HR Pros around the country should be cringing at the reaction that news media has taken in how they’ve reported the change at the top. He’s gay, he’s not prancing around flamboyantly with light blue half t-shirt with a rainbow logo across the front, in daisy duke cut off jean shorts and bedazzled flip flops. He came through IBM’s leadership program, ascended to the highest ranks within corporate America – and we lead with he’s “Gay”.
I know there are probably some individuals out there that are actually proud that a CEO at such a high profile company is Gay, similar to how black people are proud of Obama becoming president, or woman being proud of Indra Nooyi becoming the CEO at Pepsi Co., etc. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be proud of those in minority groups reaching the highest levels of society, we should. What I’m saying is we need to start not acting so damn surprised when it does happen!
Cook looks to be an outstanding choice to run Apple. Will he do as well at Jobs? Probably not, it’s hard to follow a legend in any business. In the end my only hope is that he’ll be measured on how her performs based on his results and now who he chooses to sleep with.