Apple's Jobs to step aside for health reasons

Apple's Jobs to step aside for health reasonsApple CEO Steve Jobs has announced to Apple employees that he is to take a medical leave of absence to focus on his health.

Jobs sent a company-wide memo informing employees of his decision, with current COO Tim Cook to take over the day-to-day running of the company. No time-frame has been set for Jobs' return, but he will continue as CEO throughout his absence.

Jobs took a similar leave of absence two years ago to address what he called a “hormonal imbalance”, although many speculated the illness was linked to pancreatic cancer, which Jobs revealed in 2004 he had undergone surgery to treat.

Today's memo, sent first thing this morning (US time), reads in full:

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.

Jobs' previous absence from the day-to-day running of Apple lasted for nearly six months, but his return was completely on schedule and during his absence he was said to have kept firm control of the company's reins.

His insistence this time that he will maintain similar control of “major strategic decisions” will no doubt assuage shareholders at an important time, with Apple set to announce its first quarter results tomorrow.

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