Apple CEO Tim Cook's approval rating drops

Falls from No. 1 to No. 18, but still thumps Microsoft's Steve Ballmer

Apple CEO Tim Cook's approval rating fell in the last 12 months, dropping Steve Jobs' successor to the 18th spot on an annual ranking of American chief executives.

Cook received an average approval rating of 93% from more than 640 Apple workers on Glassdoor, an online jobs and careers website, between March 2012 and March 2013. That put Cook at No. 18, behind several other technology CEOs such as Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg (No. 1), EMC's Joe Tucci (No. 7), Google's Larry Page (No. 11) and Amazon's Jeff Bezos (No. 16).

The year before -- March 2011 to March 2012 -- Cook held first place in Glassdoor's rankings with an approval rating of 97%. Former CEO Steve Jobs held the No. 1 spot the year before that with a 95% approval rating.

Cook's decline of four percentage points could be attributed to any number of factors, including angst as Apple's shares have tumbled 36% since last September and the drumbeat of Internet commentators claiming that Samsung has out-innovated Apple.

The latter prompted one Wall Street analyst -- long-time Apple bull Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets -- to call the commentary "crazy talk."

But Cook fared much better than Microsoft's Steve Ballmer, who did not make Glassdoor's top-50 CEO cut with his score of 47% for 2012-2013. While Ballmer's number was higher than the year before, when it was an even-more-dismal 35%, it remained lower than the 49% he scored in 2010-2011.

Cook also out-scored technology CEOs such as Michael Dell (81%), who is trying to take the firm he founded private; Oracle's Larry Ellison (82%); and Intuit's Brad Smith (91%).

Meanwhile, Zuckerberg's rating was up 14 percentage points from 2011-2012's 89%, Page's was flat, and Bezos gained 13 points.

Glassdoor asks current employees, "Do you approve of the way your CEO is leading the company?" to calculate its rankings.

CEO chart
Tim Cook's approval rating fell four percentage points in the last 12 months, dropping him to No. 18 from last year's No. 1.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at  @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

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