APPLE chief executive Tim Cook has joined a list of tycoons promising to give away most of the wealth that they amass during their careers.
Cook mentioned his intentions in a story released by Fortune magazine. After paying for the college education of his 10-year-old nephew, Cook says he will donate the rest of his money to philanthropic causes.
There’s no joy in me putting my life in view
He has previously spoken of his affection for his nephew. In a speech last year, he said: “When I look at him, and when I think of leaving a world that’s not as good as when I entered it, there’s no bigger sin than that.”
Cook, 54, who has spoken publicly about the importance of stopping HIV/Aids and climate change, as well as championing human rights and equality, did not specify which causes he would support but said he had already begun donating money quietly. He said he would develop a systematic approach to philanthropy, rather than just writing cheques.
He also spoke about his decision to come out as gay last year – making him the most influential gay business executive as head of the world’s most valuable company.
He said he made the decision to come out “quite some time ago” and that his announcement was viewed internally at Apple – where most people already knew he was gay – as a “yawner”.
However, he said making his sexuality public knowledge was difficult because he is a very private person and guarded about his personal life. “To be honest, if I would not have come to the conclusion that it would likely help other people, I would have never done it,” he said. “There’s no joy in me putting my life in view.”
In the interview, Cook also took a strong line on investors trying to make a quick buck out of Apple’s rising share price. “The kind of investors we seek are long term because that’s how we make our decisions,” he said. “If you’re a short-term investor, obviously you’ve got the right to buy the stock and trade it the way you want. It’s your decision. But I want everybody to know that’s not how we run the company.”
Earlier this week, it was predicted that Apple could soon become the world’s first trillion dollar company. Analysts at Cantor Fitzgerald said on Monday they thought Apple’s shares – which are currently trading at about $127, valuing the company at $733 billion – could soon be worth $180 each, which would value the iPhone maker at $1.05 trillion.
It would be the first time a company had been valued at more than $1tn, and would make Apple more valuable than the gross domestic product of the Netherlands, according to World Bank statistics.
Cook joins a growing number of the world’s super-rich who are giving away their wealth. Five years ago, billionaire investor Warren Buffett and Microsoft founder Bill Gates launched the campaign the Giving Pledge. It aims to convince billionaires to give at least half of their fortunes to charity. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and over 100 others have so far signed up to the “moral commitment”.
Cook’s base salary went up by 43 per cent in February 2014, rising to £6.2m a year. According to Fortune, he holds £81m of Apple shares and a further £447m of restricted stocks.