Steve Jobs, 56, has resigned his day-to-day responsibilities as the CEO of Apple. The company’s board of directors immediately elected him chairman of the company and named Tim Cook, who has been Apple’s chief operating officer, to replace Jobs as CEO.
Here’s Jobs’ letter of resignation:
To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:
I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.
I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.
As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.
I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.
I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.
Here’s part of a statement released by Apple:
“Steve’s extraordinary vision and leadership saved Apple and guided it to its position as the world’s most innovative and valuable technology company,” said Art Levinson, Chairman of Genentech, on behalf of Apple’s Board. “Steve has made countless contributions to Apple’s success, and he has attracted and inspired Apple’s immensely creative employees and world class executive team. In his new role as Chairman of the Board, Steve will continue to serve Apple with his unique insights, creativity and inspiration.”
“The Board has complete confidence that Tim is the right person to be our next CEO,” added Levinson. “Tim’s 13 years of service to Apple have been marked by outstanding performance, and he has demonstrated remarkable talent and sound judgment in everything he does.”
Not mentioned specifically in either statement is Jobs’ health issue. He’s a cancer survivor and he had a liver transplant in 2009. Jobs has been on medical leave from Apple since Jan. 17, 2011, when he sent the following email to Apple employees:
At my request, the board of directors has granted me a medical leave of absence so I can focus on my health. I will continue as CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company.
I have asked Tim Cook to be responsible for all of Apple’s day to day operations. I have great confidence that Tim and the rest of the executive management team will do a terrific job executing the exciting plans we have in place for 2011.
I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can. In the meantime, my family and I would deeply appreciate respect for our privacy.
So, what does this mean for Apple. In a quick analysis made this afternoon, Dwlight Silverman, who runs theTechBlog for the Houston Chronicle writes: "Clearly, Apple’s success has been tied closely to Jobs’ vision of personal technology. The company was at death’s door when he returned to it in 1997, affecting one of the most dramatic corporate turnarounds in American business history. Earlier this month, it became the most valuable company in the world, passing ExxonMobil…For the foreseeable future, Apple will likely continue to do well."
But then Silverman adds, "But history is not on Apple’s side. As time goes on and other leaders take Apple’s helm, the company is bound to change. Jobs’ charisma and crystal-clear vision will dim as other leaders step in over the years. Look at what has happened at HP, which had similarly inspiring founders, and at Microsoft, which seems to be unfocused after the recent departure of Bill Gates. In the short term, expect Apple to remain Apple. In the long term, unless Tim Cook can bottle Steve Jobs’ mojo and pass it down to his own successor, the future is anyone’s guess."
At 4:52 pm PT, in after hours trading, Apple stock on the NASDAQ exchange was down just over 5%, or about 18 points to $356 and change, according to Yahoo Finance.