FORTUNE -- Having participated as a Time Magazine editor in my share of Person of the Year selections (I edited the David Ho cover and wrote at least one Steve Jobs "also ran" item), I knew how hard it was going to be for the magazine not to make Barack Obama -- winner of the Presidential election that dominated the news for most of the year -- Time's 2012 POY.
And I wasn't entirely surprised to learn Tuesday that the editors had put Apple's (AAPL) new CEO on its short list of eight finalists -- along with Yahoo's (YHOO) Marissa Mayer, Egypt's Mohamed Morsi, CERN's Fabiola Gianotti (of Higgs Boson fame) and four others. Variety of region, gender and the surprise factor weigh heavily in the editorial winnowing process.
But I didn't expect Tim Cook -- a bland fellow largely unknown outside the circle of Apple (AAPL) watchers -- to make it into the magazine as one of four runners up.
Yet there he is, accompanied by an 2,500-word Lev Grossman essay that begins:
"Tim Cook has the decidedly nontrivial distinction of being the first CEO of Apple since the very first to come to power without blood on his hands."
The three-part piece is titled Tim Cook: The Technologist, and it's available online.
Apple's late CEO would be the first dead man -- or woman -- to win the honor
Steve Jobs' name came up Tuesday -- it has many times since 1982 -- in a panel discussion organized by Time Magazine to help promote the 2011 Person of the Year.
Jobs was nominated by NBC's Brian Williams (see video here) and the proposal was seconded -- sort of -- by anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Nov 9, 2011 8:10 AM ET
Calls his "the most remarkable comeback in modern business history"
The Financial Times has given Apple's (AAPL) CEO the honorific Time Magazine never did. From the citation in the current edition:
A rebuttal of F. Scott Fitzgerald's much-quoted aphorism that there are no second acts in American life does not come more decisively than this. When Steven Paul Jobs first hit the headlines, he was younger even than MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 23, 2010 9:48 AM ET
Though some love has recently been lost over the past few years, Google's brass still admire Steve Jobs
In comments made at last night's Time Person of the Year Panel, Google's VP of Location Marissa Mayer lavished praise on Apple (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs and his role in Silicon Valley and American entrepreneurialism.
"I think if you look at what he's done for the world in terms of popularizing the personal computer, the iPod, iTunes, MORESeth Weintraub - Nov 12, 2010 1:43 PM ET
It's not about you anymore. Thank goodness.
It's been a little over three years since Time magazine named "You" its Person of the Year, a heavily mocked yet totally appropriate and even shrewd move by Fortune's sister publication. YouTube was redefining the experience of watching videos. Facebook was picking up steam as the ultimate form of self expression for young people. And blogging was all the rage.
That was then. Today, YouTube MOREAdam Lashinsky, Sr. Editor at Large - Mar 4, 2010 9:00 AM ET
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