TIME has published its shortlist of nominees being considered for their annual “Person of the Year” award, and Apple CEO Tim Cook is once again on the list. The nomination is in recognition of the release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, as well as Cook’s recent decision to publicly come out as a gay man.
Back in late October, Tim Cook made the bold move of announcing his sexual orientation in a letter written for Bloomberg Businessweek, where he said that his decision was done to “bring comfort to anyone who feels alone” and to “inspire people to insist on their equality.”
TIME’s Person of the Year award is given annually to “a person, couple, group, idea, place, or machine” that has “for better or for worse done the most to influence the events of the year.” The winner is decided on by the publication’s editorial team.
Here are the eight still in the final running, and the reasons they are on the shortlist, in no particular order:
- The Ferguson protesters, who took to the streets in August following the fatal shooting of an unarmed black 18-year-old by a white police officer, and again in November when a grand jury declined to indict the officer in the killing.
- The Ebola caregivers, who are still fighting the biggest Ebola outbreak in history, that has so far taken the lives of nearly 7,000 people in West Africa.
- Vladimir Putin, the Russian president who has remained in the headlines throughout this year, from his country’s stewardship of the Winter Olympics in Sochi to its annexation of Crimea, and its role in the ongoing civil strife in eastern Ukraine.
- Taylor Swift, one of the world’s top-selling pop artists, who this year shook up the music industry by pulling her music from streaming service Spotify, which she believes should compensate artists more.
- Jack Ma, an English teacher turned founder and CEO of Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant which debuted a $25 billion IPO.
- Tim Cook, who introduced Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Apple Watch, and Apple Pay this year, and whose decision to come out made him the first openly gay Fortune 500 CEO.
- Masoud Barzani, the acting president of the Iraqi Kurdish Region since 2005, who has deftly threaded the region’s push for independence with the ongoing fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria.
- Roger Goodell, the National Football League commissioner whose leadership has been under great scrutiny this year as the league dealt with public incidents of domestic abuse by players such as Ray Rice, among other controversies.
Cook was previously nominated for the award in 2012, however the award went to U.S. President Barack Obama. The 2013 honor went to Pope Francis.