Does a CEO's sexual orientation define or color a company? Does it change the perceptions the rest of us have as investors and customers?
In real estate, we've long been told, it's location, location, location. And in executive leadership in the market, it's performance, performance, performance.
Just this week, Apple became the first U.S. firm in Wall Street history to surpass the $700 billion capitalization mark, now doubling the size of Microsoft. Apple's market value has risen more than 50,600 percent, with over half of that growth on Cook's watch.
Read MoreApple's market cap tops $700 billion
There is no evidence today that hints investors or consumers make self-interested market choices based on a CEO's sexual orientation. Or gender, or race, or age, or ethnicity. They buy and invest because of their own and their family's needs, wants, desires.
Even before disclosing his sexual orientation, Tim Cook showed that he already passed the Steve Jobs test. The market was anxious to learn more about Tim and to discover whether he inherited Steve's magic touch.
Of course, magic has nothing to do with it. Far more significantly, he did share Jobs' and Apple's tested values that make Apple so successful: Innovation first and foremost, as well as customer insight, bold thinking and risk-taking.
Not to mention the gift for powerful evangelical marketing that inspires Apple customers worldwide to serve as their best brand ambassadors. Cook has those traits. That's why Apple products are now beating down the doors successfully in China, too. And, the last time we checked, China wasn't lining up to host any splashy gay pride celebrations. Clearly, Cook's sexual orientation doesn't matter.
His quiet disclosure, in fact, reminded the markets what they often admire in corporate executives: authenticity, truthfulness, and self-confidence. Those are traits that many parents would like to have in their own children, or that many investors appreciate in a global decision-maker.
Tim Cook reflects the character and aspirations of millennials better than most CEOs today. With his refreshing honesty, he appears to mirror the independent and nonjudgmental millions of younger consumers who grew up believing they are entitled to be themselves too. Sexual orientation in much, if not all, of the world is no longer a litmus test or barrier for younger generations (and future Apple customers, investors and developers.)
If anything, it suggests that Cook, and by inspiration, Apple, is also self-confident, truthful and empowering. Those are attributes any brand would be proud to covet.
For over two decades, I have worked with some of the nation's top Fortune 100 corporations and legions of LGBT business allies and executives. In the 1980s, few dared risk being open if they hoped for promotions, or in some cases, expected to hang on to their jobs.
Let's fast forward 25 years. Today, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender professionals are now commanding decisions in the C Suite rather than fearing them. There are far more seasoned and well qualified Tim Cooks waiting to lead.
Expert market analysts always are asked to evaluate management teams and their ability to lead their companies to grow customers, revenues and profits. It is rare and refreshing to find an example like Apple's leadership that not only has the ability to drive positive business metrics, but also in its appreciation for our rich human diversity.
I remember reading the cranky yet sharply frank comments by many individuals who were appalled or even affronted by Tim Cook's disclosure. After all, most wanted to know, if you're buying a high quality smartphone, what difference does it make if the CEO is gay. Exactly right. What is the difference?
Alone, Tim Cook cannot promise or make a better world. Yet, by growing a better Apple on his own terms, he opens up a better world for millions of us.
Commentary by Bob Witeck, the president of Witeck Communications in Washington, D.C. Since 1993, he has advised major corporations on their LGBT business, marketing and communications strategies.