Apple's new CEO Tim Cook not only might be the most influential technology leader in his new position, but also the most powerful gay man in America.

Cook has never publicly commented on his sexuality, but Gawker reports that it's generally known within the Apple and Silicon Valley circles that he's gay.

Out Magazine named him its most powerful gay or lesbian person of 2011. In its profile, it wrote Although Tim Cook has chosen to be discreet about his sexuality, just know that Apple's heir apparent is gay sends a compelling message of the opportunity to thrive in the workplace. That's a big deal.

A Gawker profile of Cook in January 2011, stated that Apple management would support Cook if publicly acknowledged his sexuality, but did have concerns about whether his coming out would impact the perception of the Apple brand.

Cook took over the helm of Apple after Steve Jobs shockingly decided to resign on Wednesday night. Jobs cited an inability to meet his current expectations as CEO, but asked to remain within the company as chairman.

Cook is known as a private person - which could be why no official announcement will ever be made - and as an operational genius.

While Jobs was known for his showman's flair, Cook is known for improving profit margins and for being strong with supply chain management.

Tim's just not a real social person, Gina Glosk, a classmate of Cook's at Auburn, told CNN Money. He's not antisocial, either. He just never seemed that interested in other people.

Cook has had stints as Apple CEO in the past when Steve Jobs was forced to take leaves of absences due to illness. At each stint, the company performed well and sometimes even flourished.

If Cook were to ever come out as gay, he'd immediately be the most influential gay person in the technology industry, and perhaps in the entire business world.

Apple has performed extraordinarily well of late, even recently surpassing Exxon Mobil as the world's most valuable company. It doesn't get much more powerful than that.