Apple's Steve Jobs has stepped down as CEO of the company, leaving former COO Tim Cook taking over at the helm of the world's biggest tech company.
Jobs delivered the news via an open letter, revealing that he felt the decision was best for both him and for Apple going forward, though he made no mention of the health concerns that have sidelined him from day-to-day operations at Apple since the start of the year.
“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,” Jobs wrote. “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.”
The reference to the succession plan confirms that Cook was earmarked as Jobs' potential successor all along, which many of us suspected was the case. Speaking on behalf of Apple's Board, Genentech chairman Art Levinson spoke warmly of Jobs' huge contribution to Apple's success, and said he believed the company was in safe hands with Cook taking over.
“Steve’s extraordinary vision and leadership saved Apple and guided it to its position as the world’s most innovative and valuable technology company,” Levinson said, “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. 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.”
Predictably, Apple's share price took a hit in the wake of the announcement, falling by as much as 5% in after-hours trading in the US yesterday.