Managing Editor Rick Stengel writes:
The TIME 100 list is about the infinite possibilities of influence and the power of influence to change the world…. Before microphones and television were invented, a leader had to stand in front of a crowd and bellow. Now [one] can tweet a phrase that reaches millions in a flash. Influence was never easier—or more ephemeral. Which is why we try to choose those people whose influence is both lasting and, with a few notable exceptions, laudable.
This year Apple CEO Tim Cook was named to the list of breakouts, pioneers, moguls, leaders and icons.
Steve Jobs may be the hardest act to follow in business history. But it's difficult to imagine anyone who could have gotten off to a stronger start than Cook has. Since he became Apple's CEO in August 2011, the iPhone 4S and the new iPad have become massive hits and the company's profits and market capitalization have set records. For a legendarily secretive company, Cook's Apple is being surprisingly open in its response to the controversy over employee welfare at its partners' Chinese manufacturing plants.
In a story for the article, former U.S. Vice President (and Apple Board member) Al Gore had glowing praise for the 51 year-old CEO:
He has indelibly imprinted his leadership on all areas of Apple — from managing its complex inner workings to identifying and shepherding new "insanely great" technology and design breakthroughs into the product pipeline...
Highly ethical and always thoughtful, he projects calmness but can be tough as nails when necessary. Like the great conductor George Szell, Cook knows that his commitment to excellence is inseparable from the incredible ensemble he leads at Apple. Szell was noted for saying, "We begin where others leave off."
FWIW: The Web picked Anonymous as Time magazine’s most influential person for 2012 (Time placed Anonymous at number 36 overall.) You can read the complete list here.