In a press release from Out Leadership, an organization that describes its goal as “cultivating LGBT and ally senior leaders to create global business opportunity and drive equality forward”, a number of Fortune 500 executives are applauding Apple CEO Tim Cook’s decision to identify himself as gay publicly.

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“Out Leadership’s member firms, including the executives below, join me in congratulating Tim Cook on his historic step forward. We thank him for his leadership and hope his example will inspire LGBT business leaders around the world to claim their identities with pride. We wish him the very best.”

Cook published an essay in Bloomberg Businessweek yesterday confirming his sexual orientation for the first time publicly and noting that “the public figures who have bravely come out have helped change perceptions and made our culture more tolerant.”

Among the executives applauding Cook’s decision are Jacques Brand, CEO of Deutsche Bank North America, Lloyd Blankfein, CEO and Chairman of Goldman Sachs, and Pat Burke, President & CEO, HSBC USA:

Jacques Brand, CEO of Deutsche Bank North America. (Deutsche Bank will host the third annual Out on the Street: Europe Summit at its headquarters in the city of London on 10 November 2014):

“Apple has inspired us yet again. We applaud Tim for his personal and powerful message and Apple for its long-standing commitment to diversity.”

Lloyd Blankfein, CEO and Chairman of Goldman Sachs and member of the Out Leadership Advisory Board:

“His words resonate, especially the importance of a workplace that embraces people’s differences.”

Lord John Browne, Managing Director of Riverstone Holdings and member of the Out Leadership Advisory Board:

“Significant moment for Tim Cook, Apple and LGBT people everywhere. He’ll change the corporate world.”

Trevor Burgess, CEO C1 Financial:

“Tim Cook is an American Dream story – he serves as a shining example that you can be who you are, you can be gay, and become the CEO of the most valuable company in the world.”

Pat Burke, President & CEO, HSBC USA:

“Tim Cook has taken a bold step and should be congratulated for doing so. His action raises the importance of leading from the front and robustly paves the way for others.”

Dan O’Connell, CEO and Founder of Vestar Capital Partners:

“Tim Cook is brave, unselfish and caring…his decision to come forward is already having a huge positive impact…not only is he a great CEO but he is a great leader and true American.”

John Roberts, Partner, Denver Investments and founder of the Workplace Equality Index:

“Tim Cook’s eloquent statement reinforces what many now call the ‘return on equality™.’ His character and truthfulness are traits that tend to shape corporate performance, especially among equality-minded corporations like Apple. Put simply, Cook’s example mirrors Apple’s own commitment to global equality.”

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