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[ 2014-10-31 16:07] 来源:中国日报网     字号 [] [] []  
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Apple's Tim Cook is the first publicly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Amid the din of applause, one might also ask: What took so long?

Public confirmations of sexuality have increased in Hollywood, and have started to appear in the sports world, including that of football player Michael Sam, who came out right before this year's NFL draft. But it's rare to see in the traditionally conservative business world, let alone at one of the world's most profitable tech companies.

The ripple effect of Cook's essay in Bloomberg Businessweek magazine Thursday was immediate, generating tweets from the likes of Virgin Group founder Richard Branson ("Inspirational words") and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella ("Inspired by @tim_cook").

Inspired by @tim_cook: “Life’s most persistent & urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?’" http://t.co/wjzW5QPxqY via @BW — Satya Nadella (@satyanadella) October 30, 2014

From one son of the South and sports fanatic to another, my hat's off to you, @Tim_cook. http://t.co/1dXvRa2Nhu — Bill Clinton (@billclinton) October 30, 2014

Before Cook, the most senior exec identified as gay was British Petroleum's John Browne, who resigned in 2007 after his sexuality was revealed by a British tabloid. He has since lobbied for more openness in the workplace, particularly in his June book, The Glass Closet: Why Coming Out Is Good for Business.

One reason why being gay in business may remain relatively taboo has "to do with perception of strength, which it shouldn't," says Daryl Lee, global CEO of media agency UM. "You don't want to take any risks in business and you don't want to be seen as weak."

But if you're gay and come out, he says, "it can be a source of strength."

Lee has been out for his entire career. He sees more acceptance of gay leaders in the last few years, and credits the rise of marriage equality to helping foster that. "Things are changing so quickly around LGBT prominence, respect and status in this county, (and) I suppose business is catching up," he says.

For Silicon Valley denizen Saffo, the importance of Cook's essay lies less in the personal confession and more in what it says about the Apple leader's ability to redefine the maverick company in the post-Steve Jobs era.

"This isn't a spotlight on Tim's sexuality, it's on his empathy," he says. "Since he's taken over (after Job's death in 2011), Tim has gradually pushed a series of progressive policies at Apple that include everything from charitable giving to environmental concerns.

"So this is just a part of that bigger picture. It just means Tim will no longer have to walk a tightrope when it comes to who he is."

(来源:USA Today 编辑:祝兴媛)