Tim Cook, Chief Executive Officer at Apple, is to receive an honorary degree from the University of Glasgow this week. Following the presentation of the award, Cook will be delivering a “Fireside Chat” in addition to a question and answer session with staff and students.
Prior to his time at Apple, Cook spent 12 years working for International Business Machines (IBM), before spending time at Intelligent Electronics and Compaq. He joined Apple in 1998 as Senior Vice President of Worldwide Operations before being appointed as the CEO in 2011 after founder Steve Jobs’ resignation. During his six years in the job, he has advocated international and domestic surveillance reform, cyber security and corporate taxation.
Cook became the first publicly gay Chief Executive of a Fortune 500 company in 2014. While there had been rumours circulating about his sexuality since as early as 2011, he chose not to make a public announcement until late 2014. When asked why he chose to reveal his sexual orientation by Stephen Colbert, he said: “Where I valued my privacy significantly, I felt that I was valuing it too far above what I could do with other people, so I wanted to tell everyone my truth.”
Apple has been ranked number one on Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies list for the past nine years, and Cook was ranked by Fortune as the “World’s Greatest Leader” in 2015. In addition to this, he was presented with the Ripple of Hope award by the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights and the Visibility Award by the Human Rights Campaign.
Last year's SRC President, Liam King, criticised the choice of Tim Cook. He stated that Caitlan Moran, a well-known feminist writer and comedian, had also been proposed, but rejected due to having "no real link with Glasgow".
The sold-out event is due to take place on Wednesday evening in Bute Hall at the University of Glasgow.