Apple chief executive Tim Cook plans to give away all his wealth to charity, after setting an amount aside for his 10-year-old nephew’s college education, which can be a fortune in itself at current rates.
But the nephew shouldn’t worry. Cook’s personal net worth in Apple stock is $120 million, with an additional $665 million in restricted stock when fully vested.
Cook told Fortune magazine he has been donating money quietly for a while, but he now plans to go beyond simply writing cheques and adopt a more systematic approach.
The Apple CEO joins the league of wealthy individuals, who have pledged their entire wealth, or most of it, to charity — Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.
Buffet started the ‘Giving Pledge’ some years ago in order to commit the rich to philanthropy — many have signed up, including Indian-Americans Vinod Khosla and Romesh Wadhwani.
Cook is not part of the campaign. But that has not stopped him from undertaking philanthropy activities since taking over the reins from its iconic co-founder Steve Jobs.
Jobs was not much of a believer in philanthropy. And Apple kept its money to itself. However, Cook changed that — pledging to match employees’ donations up to $10,000 a year.
While fiercely guarding Apple’s corporate culture left behind by Jobs, Cook has been quietly putting his own stamp on it, opening it up to the outside world, for one.
He has used the global platform provided by his position as CEO of the world’s most-valued company to champion human rights, AIDS, immigration reforms and also LGBT rights. He came out as gay in an essay that created ripples around the corporate world — as the first openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company — and outside.
“You want to be the pebble in the pond that creates the ripple for change,” he told Fortune, in a report titled, “Apple’s Tim Cook leads different”.
He does, indeed.