Apple CEO Tim Cook most popular of Big Tech employees, X's CEO Linda Yaccarino, not so much

Apple employees give CEO Tim Cook the thumbs up in a new survey ranking the most popular CEOs among its workers, while X’s (formally Twitter) new kid on the block, CEO Linda Yaccarino, rates deep in the single digits.

The study found that 83% of Apple employees approve of the way CEO Tim Cook is handling his job at Apple.

Cook’s high approval rating also put the tech boss in the top five out of the more than 100 chief executives rated in the Blind Workplace Insights study, which spans multiple industries, including technology, retail, entertainment, financial services, and more.

The 62-year-old Cook has been CEO at Apple since 2011, chosen just weeks before the death of Apple founder and creator Steve Jobs – who passed away from pancreatic cancer 12 years ago on October 5th, coincidentally, the same publish date of this report.

A close friend of Jobs, Cook had vowed to carry on the former leader's legacy and his vision for the Apple brand following his death.

Blind, an online social platform that allows verified professionals to communicate anonymously about workplace issues, conducted the employee feedback survey this past August.

The Big Five

CEOs from each of the five companies commonly referred to as “Big Tech” – Amazon, Apple, Meta, Google (Alphabet), and Microsoft – were all part of the analysis.

Unfortunately, Cook’s four counterparts did not fare as well in the survey, all dipping way below 50% with the exception of Meta founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Meta employees were nearly spit down the middle giving Zuckerberg a 45% approval and 49% disapproval rating, while 5% said they were undecided.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella garnered only a 30% approval rating from his employees. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and its parent company Alphabet, came in even lower at 26%.

Amazon’s Andy Jassy's dismal ratings showed only 10% of employees approved of how he is running the e-commerce giant, while 86% of workers disapproved.

Blind employee survey tec CEOs approval

Notable highs and lows

Other rankings in the survey worth mentioning include Tesla Motors and its CEO Elon Musk.

For all the controversy around the tech billionaire, Musk still managed to squeak out a 38% approval rating among workers, with 53% disapproving of how he handles the EV car manufacturer and 9% undecided.

X’s Linda Yaccarino, whom Musk appointed to take his place as CEO following his October 2022 acquisition of the social media platform (formally known as Twitter), had one of the lowest scores of all technology companies surveyed at 4% approval.

To note, 16% of Yaccarino’s employees had no opinion on her job handling, possibly because she only took over the CEO role in June.

Besides Yaccarino, only three other female CEOs made it into the technology category; Oracle’s Safra Katz at 38% employee approval, Aicha Evans of Amazon’s robo-taxi subsidiary Zoox with 47%, and Lisa Su of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) with a robust 79% approval rating.

The CEOs of Alibaba and Tencent, often considered part of the Big Tech label were not listed in the survey.

Overall, the highest-rated CEO of the tech industry, as well as the entire survey, was Nvidia's Jensen Huang, with a 96% approval rank. In contrast, the definitive loser of the feedback survey was Western Digital CEO David Goeckeler, with a rock bottom 0% approval score.

Contributing Factors

The Blind analysis stated that perceived job security is likely the most prevalent factor tech employees take into consideration when rating their CEOs.

The study also showed that CEOs who made the most drastic job cuts in 2023 garnered the most disapproval from workers.

Not surprisingly, the CEOs who rated in the top ten had no company layoffs since 2022, unlike CEOs Jassy, Pichai, Zuckerberg, Nadella, and Yaccarino, who have fired more than 50,000 workers combined in 2023 alone, Blind stated.

Other factors that often contribute to a higher approval rating from employees include company market capitalizations, valuations, stock-based compensation (which can make up more than half of many tech annual salaries), and other perks, such as remote work policies.

The CEO approval rating index for the 2023 inaugural survey was 32%, Blind stated.