The 25 Most Influential Executives Of 2012

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1. Tim Cook



Apple will always be Steve Jobs' company. No IT executive was more deeply entrenched in the success and identity of his company than Apple's late founder and CEO. So you can imagine the pressure that Cook is under now that he is at the helm of the most valuable technology company of all time. That said, you've got to give Cook credit for putting his own kinder, gentler stamp on Apple, while at the same time keeping the creative fires burning. Jobs would never have -- as Cook did -- paid out a cash dividend to Apple investors or apologized for the iO6 Maps disaster.

Cook is not Jobs. And he certainly has a big challenge in ensuring that Apple's next generation of products measure up. Everyone is watching, because as Apple goes, so goes the industry. Whether it's the rise of the tablet, the dominance of the App Store or the focus on cool, sleek design, every rival seems to be following in Apple's footsteps.

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