Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs announced Wednesday that he will step down from his post temporarily while he deals with health issues. Jobs says he will return to Apple in June after recuperating from issues related to a hormone imbalance.
In a letter Wednesday, Jobs wrote that "during the past week I have learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought".
Tim Cook, Jobs says, will be responsible for Apple's day to day operations. Cook is currently Apple's chief operating officer and oversees Apple's Mac division as well as its support services and supply chains. (Link view Cooks' full profile)
Jobs' health has had many Apple watchers anxious and asking what the future might have in store for the company should Jobs leave. The company's share prices have fluctuated over the past year influenced by rumors of Jobs' health and by public appearances where the iconic leader of Apple has looked gaunt.
Trading in Apple's stock was halted when news was announced Jobs would be stepping down. Apple stock lost 8 percent of its value before trading was stopped as investors reacted to the news.
Jobs' Official Statement to the Media
I am sure all of you saw my letter last week sharing something very personal with the Apple community. Unfortunately, the curiosity over my personal health continues to be a distraction not only for me and my family, but everyone else at Apple as well. In addition, during the past week I have learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought.
In order to take myself out of the limelight and focus on my health, and to allow everyone at Apple to focus on delivering extraordinary products, I have decided to take a medical leave of absence until the end of June.
I have asked Tim Cook to be responsible for Apple's day to day operations, and I know he and the rest of the executive management team will do a great job. As CEO, I plan to remain involved in major strategic decisions while I am out. Our board of directors fully supports this plan.
I look forward to seeing all of you this summer.
Health Concerns Raised in the Past
Rumors had been swirling about the health of Jobs after he decided not to deliver the keynote address at the Macworld Expo. On January 5 Jobs wrote an open letter to the Apple community outlining his reasoning not to deliver the Macworld keynote.
"Unfortunately, my decision to have Phil deliver the Macworld keynote has set off another flurry of rumors about my health, with some even publishing stories of me on my deathbed," reads the January 5 letter, which refers to Apple Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller, who delivered the keynote.
Health concerns were also raised about Jobs this summer when some say he appeared emaciated during his appearance at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference.
Jobs said in mid-2004 that he had undergone surgery for pancreatic cancer. That form of cancer is generally considered a difficult to recover from. Jobs has insisted that he was afflicted by a much less aggressive type of cancer and was treated successfully.
In a move many say is foreshadowing Jobs' departure, Apple has been actively raising the profile of other Apple executives to the press; such as Eddy Cue, vice president of Internet Services, Scott Forstall, senior vice president of iPhone software, and Jonathan Ive, senior vice president of industrial design. (Read a complete profile of these Apple executives.)