Apple CEO Tim Cook joins billionaires club

NEW YORK • Nine years after Steve Jobs stepped down and thrust Tim Cook to the top of Apple, the company is more valuable than ever - and so is Mr Cook.

Apple's share price rose almost 5 per cent last week, leaving the company the late Mr Jobs co-founded 44 years ago in his parents' California home on the cusp of a stock market milestone: a market value of nearly US$2 trillion (S$2.75 trillion). It was valued at about US$350 billion when he died.

In the meantime, Mr Cook has joined one of the most elite clubs for CEOs who did not actually found the companies they run: his net worth has eclipsed US$1 billion, according to calculations by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

His net worth estimate is based on an analysis of regulatory filings and applying the market performance of a typical wealthy investor to his proceeds from share sales.

Mr Cook, 59, said in 2015 that he planned to give most of his fortune away. He has already gifted millions of dollars worth of Apple shares, and his wealth could be lower if he has also made other undisclosed charitable gifts.

A spokesman for Apple declined to comment.

"This tech cycle has been way bigger and longer than I thought," said Mr Hussein Kanji, a partner at venture capital firm Hoxton Ventures, who had expressed caution about Apple's long-term outlook after Mr Jobs left the company.

"Out of all these stocks, Apple has become the greatest cash generation machine in history."

The surge in Apple's stock comes as Mr Cook and his fellow Big Tech CEOs - Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Sundar Pichai of Alphabet and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook - face antitrust investigations into what their critics characterise as monopolistic powers.

While Mr Bezos and Mr Zuckerberg have huge stakes in the companies they founded, Mr Cook's path to the 10-figure-club was more incremental. The vast majority of his estimated wealth comes from equity awards he has received since joining Apple in 1998, where he has drawn plaudits for mastering the company's complex supply chain.

BLOOMBERG

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 12, 2020, with the headline Apple CEO Tim Cook joins billionaires club. Subscribe