Wednesday marked a major shakeup in the Apple hierarchy, as the company’s CEO and co-founder officially resigned. He will be replaced by Tim Cook, who previously held the title of Apple’s chief operating officer.
The official resignation by Jobs does not come as a complete surprise, as he had recently been plagued by various health problems. Jobs turned over Apple’s reigns to Cook in January of this year when he was forced to take an indefinite medical leave. It was his third such leave in recent years, but he was determined to return to his position, stating, “I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can.”
Jobs’ unfortunate medical history began in August of 2004, when he had surgery to treat a rare form of pancreatic cancer. The procedure was a success, and Jobs returned to work the next month. He ran into problems once again in January of 2009, when he claimed that his body’s ability to absorb proteins was being hindered due to a hormonal imbalance. Jobs had liver transplant surgery in April of that year which kept him sidelined until July.
The string of health problems appear to have been his final undoing, as Jobs proclaimed that he was no longer able to perform as CEO in a letter to the Apple’s board members as well as the company’s vast community. He said, “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.”
While his CEO days may be over, Jobs expressed the desire to continue contributing to the company as chairman of the board, director, and even as an employee. He noted that such involvement would be subject to the board’s approval. Jobs finished his letter on a positive note, stating, “Apple's brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it.” Jobs’ last major public appearance as CEO of Apple occurred a couple of months ago during the Worldwide Developers Conference in June. The conference was used as a springboard for the company’s introduction of its iCloud service and iOS5.
Tim Cook’s career with Apple began in 1998. Cook had served as Jobs’ right-hand man for a lengthy period, and his duties included figurehead appearances at product launches, as well as leading several earning calls with investors and shareholders meetings. The 50 year old assumed the position of chief operating officer in 2004. Cook’s new role as CEO kicks off a new era for Apple, but the company’s booming success combined with his solid experience should make it a prosperous one.
Apple recently held the distinction of being the world’s most valuable company thanks to its $330 billion-plus market capitalization. Apple’s line of highly-noticeable products, including the Mac, iPhone, iPad, and iPod, has created an army of loyal followers and helped it separate itself from competitors.