Yep, you read that right. As of this afternoon, Steve Jobs is no longer Apple’s Chief Executive Officer. Jobs submitted his resignation to the Apple board today, asking that he be allowed to serve as Chairman and that Tim Cook take over as CEO. The board acquiesced.
Here is Jobs’ letter in full:
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.
It’s hard to imagine Apple today without Steve Jobs in the driver’s seat. He co-founded the company in 1976 and, after he was ousted by John Sculley in 1985, Apple slowly devolved into irrelevance—and financial distress. Jobs took back the reins in 1997 and subsequently reshaped Apple from a nigh-irrelevant has-been into the second highest-valued corporation in the United States, behind ExxonMobil.
This time, too, circumstances beyond his control might have forced an early departure. Jobs has officially been on medical leave since January 17—the second time in two years—and, after seeing his emaciated appearance at the WWDC keynote, some speculated that he was losing his long battle against cancer. Today’s news suggests that may indeed be the case.
Of course, unlike in 1985, Jobs isn’t being disowned by his company. This time, Apple is left with an executive team of Jobs’ choosing and the clear validation of his management philosophy. Jobs may no longer be CEO, but I expect Apple’s glory days are far from over.